SOCIALISM AND SOCIAL REFORM
Marx and Engels on social reform: Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto emphasized the importance of social and political reform and sketched a practical program for the betterment of the conditions of the wage-workers. That it was a crude and hastily sketched program, which has long since become antiquated to a large extent, is not here and now a matter of importance. What is significant is the fact that from the beginning Marx and Engels regarded agitation for reforms as a necessary part of proletarian activity. Eighteen years later, in the practical program which Marx drafted for the International, we find measures like the eight-hour work day and free, popular education given conspicuous place.
Marx and Engels understood and set forth with remarkable clearness and strength the need for physical, mental and moral efficiency on the part of the workers as prerequisites of their success. They understood and pointed out the unfitness of the slum proletariat, whose conditions of life necessarily fit it to be a reactionary force rather than a progressive and revolutionary force. On the other hand, they proclaimed the increasing misery and degradation of the proletariat in terms which compel us to conclude that they did not believe much could be done by the economic and political organization of the proletariat to check that misery and degradation. There is a terrible fatalism in the manner in which they picture the degradation and pauperization of the workers as one of the conditions essential to comprehensive social change:
"The modern laborer . . . instead of rising with the progress of industry, sink deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and