Socialism as It Is: A Survey of the World-Wide Revolutionary Movement

By William English Walling | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE REVOLUTIONARY TREND

With the exception of a few years ( 1899 to 1903) the revolutionary and anti-"reformist" (not anti-reform) position of the international movement has become stronger every year. It is a relatively short time, not more than twenty years, since the reformists first began to make themselves heard in the Socialist movement, and their influence increased until the German Congress at Dresden in 1903, the International Congress of 1904 at Amsterdam, and the definite separation of the Socialists of France from Millerand at this time and from Briand shortly afterwards (Chapter II). Since then their influence has rapidly receded.

The spirit of the international movement, on the whole, is more and more that of the great German Socialist Wilhelm Liebknecht, who advised the party to be "always on the offensive and never on the defensive," ( 1) or of La Salle when he declared, "True political power will have to be fought for, and cannot be bought." ( 2)

The revolutionary policy of the leading Socialist parties has not become less pronounced with their growth and maturity as opponents hoped it would. On the contrary, all the most important Socialist assemblies of the last ten years, from the International Congress at Paris in 1900, have reiterated or strengthened the old position. The Congress of Paris in 1900 adopted a resolution introduced by Kautsky which declared that the "Social Democracy has taken to itself the task of organizing the working people into an army ready for the social war, and it must, therefore, above all else, make sure that the working classes become conscious of their interests and of their power." The great task of the Socialists at the present time is the preparation of the social war of the future, and not any effort to improve the capitalists' society. The working classes are to be made conscious of their own strength — which will surely not be brought about by any reforms which, however much they may benefit the workers,

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