Social Changes Resulting from Organization
THE SOCIAL changes which organization produces among the proletarian elements, and the alterations which are effected in the proletarian movement through the influx of those new influences which the organization attracts within its orbit, may be summed up in the comprehensive customary term of the embourgeoisement of working-class parties. This embourgeoisement is the outcome of three very different orders of phenomena: (1) the adhesion of petty bourgeois to the proletarian parties; (2) labor organization as the creator of new petty bourgeois strata; (3) capitalist defense as the creator of new petty bourgeois strata.
For motives predominantly electoral, the party of the workers seeks support from the petty bourgeois elements of society, and this gives rise to more or less extensive reactions upon the party itself. The Labor Party becomes the party of the "people." Its appeals are no longer addressed simply to the manual workers, but to "all producers," to the "entire working population," these phrases being applied to all the classes and all the strata of society except the idlers who live upon the income from investments. Both the friends and the enemies of the Socialist Party have frequently pointed out that the petty bourgeois members tend more and more to predominate over the manual workers. During the struggles which occurred during the early part of 1890 in the German Socialist Party against the so-called "youths," the assertion that during recent years a complete transposition of power had occurred within the party aroused a veritable tempest. On one side it was maintained that the proletarian elements were to an increasing extent being thrust into the background by the petty bourgeois. The other faction repudiated this accusation as a "calumny." One of the best established generalizations which we obtain from the study of history is this, that political parties, even when they are the advocates of moral and social ideas of profound
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Publication information: Book title: Political Parties:A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy. Contributors: Robert Michels - Author, Cedar Paul - Translator, Eden Paul - Translator. Publisher: Free Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1966. Page number: 254.