The collapse of the general strike constituted the failure of political reform from below. Yet if the Canovite system resisted that attack, its governing elites found it impossible to put back the clock of history. The first ever political initiative led by the Socialists heralded the arrival of mass politics and social mobilization. The old-fashioned Liberalism represented by the dynastic parties owed its survival to the military. Henceforth the permanence of the liberal monarchy would rest on the goodwill of the repressive forces of the state. The army had stopped the revolution but who was going to stop the army?
The victory of the Conservative government was short-lived. The Dato administration was soon to realize that it was living on borrowed time. Quashing the general strike had offered a temporary respite, yet once the revolutionary spasm of August was over, the government found itself back in the situation of July: isolated, discredited and loathed by nearly all the social and political forces of the country.
All the attempts made by the government to link the Assembly with the revolutionary movement failed. The bourgeoisie under the leadership of Cambó returned to the attack, resuming its activities. On 30 August, Cambó declared to El Heraldo de Madrid that the general strike had been a foolish action which had only served to delay and obstruct the offensive mounted in July. He denied having supported or encouraged the movement and even added that a general strike was an old-fashioned political method which was always bound to fail. Cambó was seeking to distance himself from his ‘embarrassing’ and now defeated partners on the left and also stress the moderation and seriousness of his alternative.
The Catalan leader was singled out by the cabinet as the mastermind of the antigovernmental offensive and the main political threat to their continuity in office. From the Conservative organ La Epoca, Cambó and his plans were continually criticized or ridiculed. His initiative was described as a recipe for civil war, and he was portrayed as a skilful but unprincipled politician who had tried to exploit the unsophisticated working classes. Now that they