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Looking at production from this general, synthetic point of view, we cannot hold with the Collectivists that payment proportionate to the hours of labour rendered by each would be an ideal arrangement, or even a step in the right direction. Moreover, we must not blink the fact that every revolution means a certain disturbance to everyday life, and those who expect this tremendous lift out of the old grooves to be accomplished without so much as jarring the dishes on their dinner tables will find themselves mistaken. We would not have the revolutionary impulse arrested in mid-career, to exhaust itself in half measures, which would content no one, and while producing a tremendous confusion in society, and stopping its customary activities, would have no vital power — would merely spread general discontent and inevitably prepare the way for the triumph of reaction. Certainly it would be very desirable that all Europe should rise at once, that expropriation should be general, and that communistic principles should inspire all and sundry. Its use is spreading outside hotels. You are pursuing an idea — that is enough. And we have lately witnessed twice the spectacle of a wonderful city springing up in a few months at Paris,[1] without interrupting in the slightest degree the regular work of the French nation. In 1793, while famine ravaged France and crippled the Revolution; whilst the people were reduced to the depths of misery, whilst the Champs Élysée were lined with luxurious carriages where women displayed their jewels and splendour, Robespierre was urging the Jacobins to discuss his treatise on the English Constitution. And that applies not only to vines, but to all fruit trees. If two individuals work for the community five hours a day, year in year out, at different work which is equally agreeable to them, we may say that on the whole their labour is equivalent. It is because we have aimed at turning society into a commercial company based on debit and credit. They proclaim a revolutionary principle, and ignore the consequences that this principle will inevitably bring about. Then, the same ideals were revived during the great English and French Revolutions; and finally, quite lately, in 1848, a revolution, inspired to a great extent with Socialist ideals, took place in France. If his house is only just large enough for his family, by all means let him stay there. The French idea of the Fourierist and Mutualist “Association” thus joined hands with Robert Owen’s idea of “The Great Consolidated Trades’ Union,” which was extended now, so as to become an International Working-men’s Association. Belgium has no longer the cloth monopoly; cloth is made in Germany, in Russia, in Austria, in the United States. It is even so in mines. Soon came the war of 1870–1871, the uprising of the Paris Commune — and again: the free development of Socialism was rendered impossible in France.

In speaking of agriculture further on, we shall see what the earth can be made to yield to man when he cultivates it scientifically, instead of throwing seed haphazard in a badly ploughed soil as he mostly does to-day. Nowadays the greatest honour a painter can aspire to is to see his canvas, framed in gilded wood, hung in a museum, a sort of old curiosity shop, where you see, as in the Prado, Murillo’s Ascension next to a beggar of Velasquez and the dogs of Philip II. It is because, having reduced the masses to a point at which they have not the means of subsistence for a month, or even for a week in advance, the few only allow the many to work on condition of themselves receiving the lion’s share. (We do not in the least agree with Toubeau’s conclusions, but it is a real encyclopædia, indicating the sources which prove what can be obtained from the soil.) Everywhere free organization trespasses on its domain. “So much for your vaunted Revolution! It is true the workmen’s clubs kept an eye on the members of the new Government, and often imposed their ideas on them. He is thus able to lay by a snug little fortune; and if he chooses a lucrative trade and has “business talents” he will soon increase his income by doubling the number of the men he exploits. 42 0 obj As to the laziness of the great majority of workers, only philistine economists and philanthropists say such nonsense. You must have seen a sunset when returning from work. They will adapt the fine houses which absorbed the time of a whole staff of servants, and in a few months homes will have sprung up, infinitely healthier and more conveniently arranged than those of to-day. Everything has become private property, and he must accept, or die of hunger. Notwithstanding the crises through which agriculture is frequently passing, notwithstanding State interference, the blood-tax (conscription), and speculative commerce and finance, the production of wheat in France has increased fourfold, and industrial production more than tenfold, in the course of the last eighty years. There were the roads and the bridges made in common, the swamps drained by common toil, and the communal pastures enclosed by hedges which were kept in repair by each and all. This, then, is our view of the whole question. At the end of last century, Benjamin Franklin fixed the limit at five hours; and if the need of comfort is greater now, the power of production has augmented too, and far more rapidly. But it is really only the perpetuation of past injustice. The police, standing at ease, are uncertain whether to belabour the crowd or to cry: “Long live the Commune!” while some retire to their quarters “to await the pleasure of the new Government.” Wealthy citizens pack their trunks and betake themselves to places of safety. But they cannot yet throw aside the idea of “wounding first and healing afterwards!”. To the children and the aged the last piece of meat, and to the strong man dry bread, if the community be reduced to that extremity. Let us glance for a moment at the Middle Ages, when great fortunes began to spring up. This machine, that planes steel, has been in use for forty-two years. Society itself will be forced to take production in hand, in its entirety, and to reorganize it to meet the needs of the whole people. To-day, with the pasture system, we need at least 5 million acres to nourish 660,000 head of cattle. A whole host of usurers swoop down upon the villages, multiplying as the wretchedness of the peasants increases. The danger is where Danton saw it when he cried to France: “Dare, dare, and yet again, dare!” The bold thought first, and the bold deed will not fail to follow. Then will the architect conceive the city’s monument which will no longer be a temple, a prison, or a fortress; then will the painter, the sculptor, the carver, the ornament; worker know where to put their canvases, their statues, and their decorations; deriving their power of execution from the same vital source, and gloriously marching all together towards the future. The switchman who transfers a train from one line to another? Then, without waiting for any one’s leave, those citizens will probably go and find their comrades who were living in miserable garrets and hovels and will say to them simply: “It is a real Revolution this time, comrades, and no mistake about it. Three hundred and fifty million Europeans love or hate one another, work, or live on their incomes; but, apart from literature, theatre, or sport, their lives remain ignored by newspapers if Governments have not intervened in some way or other.

No one will volunteer to work for the enrichment of your Rothschild. They also understood that to find men who at the first signal would launch their boat at night, in a chaos of waves, not suffering themselves to be deterred by darkness or breakers, and struggling five, six, ten hours against the tide before reaching a vessel in distress — men ready to risk their lives to save those of others, there must be a feeling of solidarity, a spirit of sacrifice not to be bought with galloon. Don’t you think that there is some fundamental error in your understanding of human nature and its needs?”. Then reaction proudly asserted itself, and accomplished a politic stroke. There were certainly obstinate men who would not be convinced. This is one way, but happily things were managed differently. And if the children of those who perished by thousands while excavating the railway cuttings and tunnels were to assemble one day, crowding in their rags and hunger, to demand bread from the shareholders, they would be met with bayonets and grape-shot, to disperse them and safeguard “vested interests.”. We are therefore obliged to refer our readers who want further information to another book, “Fields, Factories, and Workshops.” Above all we earnestly invite those who are interested in the question to read several excellent works published in France and elsewhere, and of which we give a list at the close of this book [9]. — in a word, for everything that is not comprised in the category of absolute necessities? “There will be no end to the evictions and removals. Such were the ideas which began vaguely to circulate after 1871 amongst the thinking working-men, especially in the Latin countries. They would soon have been 100,000, without counting those who crowded in from the provinces. We are only concerned to demonstrate that expropriation could be effected by popular initiative, and could not be effected by any other means whatever. Undoubtedly there will be a disturbance, but it must not be of pure destruction; it must be minimized.

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