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* "Applied Sociology," p. 245.


will naturally cease. The director of industries will be-
come a "statesman" just as any other public functionary,
and will be just as much moved by motives of a more
ideal nature as the latter. Our post office has been
nationalized, and its operation has become an adminis-
trative function, while the express business of the country
has remained the individual enterprise of competing
capitalists. The salary of the Postmaster-General, who
is a public officer, is a mere pittance in comparison with
the revenues of the head of one of our large express com-
panies, and still the government has been able to secure
for the administration of its Post-Office Department men
at least as capable as the highly paid managers of the
express companies.

A socialist society will not destroy the individual in-
centive in industrial life ; it will merely change its char-
acter by substituting a more ideal standard for the present
standard of pecuniary gain.

And as for the scientist, artist and statesman, a socialist
regime cannot possibly affect their creative work adversely
by cutting down their money reward, since that reward,
as we have shown, never was their prime incentive. The
golden age of Athens knew nothing of immense fortunes
and heavy money rewards, but it produced a sculpture,
drama, literature and architecture never surpassed in

"To undertake to state the influence which the com-
munistic elements in Athenian life had upon the ex-
traordinary development of Athenian art and literature
in the fifth century before our era," says Professor Sey-
mour, "would be dangerous. But any reader may see
that the artist and dramatist were not stimulated by any


material rewards or prizes, ^schylus had no income
whatever, so far as we know, from his plays, and the
architect's pay was only twice that of the stonecutter." ^
Nor, we may add, did the great statesmen and orators
of that period, as Pericles and Demosthenes, receive large
pecuniary compensation.

On the other hand, there is every reason to believe that
a socialist regime will offer larger opportunities for the
unfolding and development of true genius and for its pure
artistic exercise than present society does.

Our modern capitalist society does all in its power to
suppress genius and ability, but does not entirely succeed.
Capitalism reduces one part of the population to the con-
dition of uncultured, exhausted wage slaves, and forces
the other into a wild, all-absorbing race for material
wealth; still the exceptional gifts of some break
through these formidable obstacles. Capitalism subverts
all art and science to the worship of the golden calf; it
subordinates the beautiful to the practical, the true to the
profitable, and strips life of all poetry and noble inspira-
tion; still, art and science are not entirely dead. The
capitalist manufacturer cheats the inventor, the capitalist
publisher robs the author, the capitalist art dealer exploits
the painter, — the inventor dies in the poorhouse, the
author and artist Hve m beggary; but the inventor con-
tinues inventing, the scientist continues studying and the
artist continues creating.

Under a state of socialism education and culture will
be equally accessible to all, and the citizens will have more
leisure to cultivate their gifts. What greater stimulus

* "Socialism and Communism in Greece," by Thomas D. Seymour,
LL.D., in Harper's Monthly Magazine for November, 1907.


can human society offer for the full development of the
fine arts and true sciences?

The elaborate and painstaking investigations of Odin,
Galton, de Candollc and Jacoby, all collated by Mr.
Ward in his scholarly work on " Applied Sociology," show
conclusively that modern economic conditions smother
scores of native genius for every one they allow to mature.
Analyzing the economic conditions of 619 well-known
men of letters between the years 1300 and 1825, de
Candolle finds that 562 of them had been brought up and
had lived in ease and material comfort, while only 57
had spent their youth in comparative poverty; and M.
Odin, commenting on the results of this analysis, ob-
serves: "This means by the sole fact of economic con-
ditions in the midst of which they grew up the children
of the families in easy circumstances had at least forty
to fifty more chances of making themselves a name in
letters than those who belonged to poor families or to
families of insecure economic position." ^

But, it is argued, all this may be very well as far as the
men of exceptional genius and abilities are concerned,
but how about the plain ordinary workingman, the "com-
mon laborer" who can neither expect the special homage
or approval of his fellow-men for his obscure work nor,
under a system of advanced socialism, a commensurate
pecuniary reward — what will be his incentive to work
conscientiously and efficiently?

This question introduces a distinct feature of present
conditions into a state of society based on an entirely
different order. To-day our industries are managed by

' A. Odin, "Genese des grands hommes," etc., Paris, 1895, p. 529,
quoted in Ward's "Applied Sociology," p. 204.


individual capitalists for their private profit and with but
little regard for the health, comfort or needs of the em-
ployees; work is exhausting, monotonous, repulsive and
often dangerous. In a system of cooperative labor, the
workingman will naturally be considered above every-
thing else; his hours of labor will be shortened as much
as practicable, his occupation will be more varied, the
dangers of employment will be reduced to a minimum,
the workshop will be clean, bright and hygienic; in a
word, labor will be made attractive.

"Because," observes J. Stern, "the workingman con-
siders as a burden the work which ties him to a mechani-
cal, monotonous and cheerless occupation in squalid
workshops during inhumanly long hours and for which
he receives starvation wages; because the office clerk
prefers to play truant rather than to busy himself the
entire day with matters that do not appeal to his mind
or heart; because men are reluctant in the exercise of
a calling which was forced on them against their wishes
and inclinations ; because generally the present class state
imposes on most persons activities which have no charms
for them and only hold out the promise of pecuniary re-
ward — because of all that — are we to infer that the
human being is generally disposed to laziness rather than
to industry? Does not, on the contrary, even the most
superficial examination of persons of all ages and classes
show that love of action, the irresistible desire to unfold
one's strength, to ' do things ' and to create, is implanted
in every healthy human individual, and that to the normal
person nothing is more unbearable than inaction? . . .
In a million of ways the love of action reveals itself as a
mighty power in human life, from early childhood even


to old age. Whence comes the passion for all kinds of
sports but from the mighty instinct of action? Why
do people voluntarily choose strenuous and even dangerous
activities, as is shown by numerous instances in life and
history ? This fear, that without the whip of poverty or
force mankind would lapse into a state of inaction, re-
minds us of the humorous prophecy upon the advent of
the bicycle and automobile that men would hereafter have
little occasion for the use of their legs, and the latter would
become weak, short and crooked like those of the dachs-
hund." '

And furthermore, one of the chief causes operating
to-day to make labor disagreeable is the lack of variety in

"The desire for freedom of choice and for change of
occupation is deeply implanted in human nature," says
August Bebel. "Just as constant and regular repetition
without variation will at length make the best food dis-
liked, an employment that is daily repeated becomes as
monotonous as a treadmill; it blunts and relaxes. The
man performs a given task, because he must, but without
enthusiasm or enjoyment. Now, every one possesses a
number of capabilities and inclinations, which only require
to be roused, developed, and put into action to give the
most satisfactory results and enable their possessor to
unfold his whole and real being. The socialistic com-
munity will offer the fullest opportunity for gratifying
this need of variety. The enormous increase in produc-
tive power, combined with growing simplification in the

* J. Stern, " Der Zukunftsstaat — Thesen iiber den Sozialismus,
sein Wesen, seine Durchfiihrbarkeit und Zweckmassigkeit," Berlin,
1906, p. 30.


process of production, will permit a considerable limita-
tion in the time of labor, while it facilitates the acquire-
ment of mechanical skill in a number of different
branches." ^

The Political Structure of the Socialist State

We cannot, of course, attempt a detailed forecast of
the political organization of the future socialist state with-
out embarking upon the domain of speculation. But we
may, nevertheless, profitably endeavor to discern the bold
outlines of the political structure of the socialist state, at
least in the early periods of its existence, provided w^e
always bear in mind the following two fundamental
propositions : —

1. The machinery of government of every state must
be adapted to the character and objects of such state.

The modem state is the state of the capitalist extracting
profits from the working members of the community, and
the modern government is, in the words of Karl Marx,
"but a committee for managing the common affairs of
the capitalist class."

The socialist state, on the other hand, is a classless
state of cooperative producers, and its go^^emment must
be a "committee for the managing of the common affairs"
of the members of that state. In other words, the main
functions of the socialist state will be of an industrial
character, and since there will be no separate economic
classes with fixed and conflicting interests, the state will
represent the citizens. It will be a democratic state.

2. Every new political organization evolves from the

1 «

Woman," p. 134.


organization immediately preceding it and retains all of
its features except such as have become useless or in-
compatible with the new order of things.

The French Revolution has not done away with the
entire political structure evolved under the monarchy; it
has merely modified it in a few substantial points. The
United States has retained more features of its pre-Revo-
lutionary political organization than it has introduced
new ones since the Declaration of Independence.

The socialist state will probably, on the whole, retain
the present forms of political organization with such
changes as will be necessitated by the altered character
and objects of organized society.

Most likely the present geographical limits of the
various states will be left substantially intact. The
political ideal of the early socialist waiters was a globe
studded with small autonomous communities. Thus
Fourier's political unit is the Phalanx composed of about
two thousand inhabitants, and his scheme of political re-
organization contemplates the division of our planet into
just two millions of such Phalanxes, each economically
and politically independent of the rest. It is a note-
worthy fact that the proposed Utopian communities grow
in size as the authors come nearer to our present era.

"The socialist commonwealth," observes Kautsky on
this point, "is not the product of an arbitrary figment of
the brain, but a necessary product of economic develop-
ment, and it is understood more clearly as that develop-
ment becomes more apparent. Hence the size of that
commonwealth is also not arbitrary, but is conditioned
upon the stage of that development at a given time.
The higher the economic development, the greater the


division of labor, the larger the size of the common-
wealth. . . .

" The division of labor is carried on ever further; ever
more do the several industries apply themselves to the
production of special articles only, but those for the whole
world; ever larger becomes the size of these establish-
ments, some of which count their workmen by the thou-
sands. Under such conditions a community able to satisfy
all its needs and embracing all requisite industries must
have dimensions very different from those of the socialist
colonies planned at the beginning of the last century.
Among the social organizations in existence to-day, there
is but one that possesses the requisite dimensions, and
may be used as the framework for the establishment and
development of the socialist commonwealth, and that is
the modern stated ^

The expectation that the proposed socialist common-
wealth will be co-extensive with the modern state, and the
assumption that the state will be charged with the man-
agement and direction of the industries, have led to the
widespread notion that the socialist state will be highly
centralized and that the socialist administration will be

Nothing can be less warranted than these assumptions.
The modern centralized state is a product of the capitalist
system, and especially of capitalist trading.

We again quote that acutest observer and thinker of
modern socialism, Karl Kautsky : —

* Karl Kautsky, "Das Erfurter Programm," 8th Edition, Stuttgart,
1907, pp. 117, 118, 119. Compare also "The Socialist Republic," by
Karl Kautsky, translated and adapted to America by Daniel de Leon,
New York, 1900, pp. 10, 11.


" Commerce has always had a tendency towards central-
ization. It causes the influx of commodities as well as of
buyers and sellers to certain points favored by their geo-
graphical location and political conditions. Under the
capitalist mode of production, which converts all industry
into production of commodities, and makes it dependent
on commerce, the centralization of commerce leads to the
centralization of the entire industrial life. The whole
country becomes directly or indirectly dependent on the
metropolis, as it becomes dependent on the capitalist
class. The metropolis, the center of commerce, also
becomes the converging point of all surplus value, of all
superfluity of the country, and luxury lures after it the
arts and the sciences.

"The economic centralization leads to political centrali-
zation, and the center of commerce also becomes the cen-
ter of government." ^

Since there is no room in a socialist commonwealth for
production for sale or for commerce, there is no economic
need for a strongly centralized government. Moreover,
the very fact that the socialist state will be charged
with much larger functions than the present state, and
will exercise a much larger interference in the economic
relations of its individual citizens, will make it an almost
impossible task to direct the most substantial activities of
the state from one central point and through one set
of general officers.

While the state as such will probably retain certain
general functions, it will no doubt be found more con-
venient to vest the more vital and direct functions in
political organizations embracing smaller territories. The
1 "Der Parlamentarismus," etc., Stuttgart, 1893, p. 30.


socialists regard the present city or township as the nucleus
of such a political unit.

The city is to-day already charged with many functions
of prime importance to the welfare of its inhabitants, and
those functions could be readily enlarged under a socialist
administration. The municipality could well conduct,
direct or regulate all industries except those that from
their nature require an organization of national scope,
such as the posts, telegraphs, railways, mines, and the
great trustified industries. It could, besides, have the
sole care of the safety, health, education and amusement
of its citizens and of the support and maintenance of its
aged, invalid and other dependent members.

It is not at all unlikely that these functions may,
especially in the case of larger municipalities, be further
subdivided, and apportioned among several organized
"labor groups" or city districts.

"The single communes," says August Bebel, "form a
suitable basis for such an institution, and where they are
too large to allow of the convenient transaction of busi-
ness, they can be divided into districts. All adult mem-
bers of the commune, without distinction of sex, take
part in the necessary elections, and determine to what
persons the conduct of affairs shall be intrusted." ^

And Anton Menger describes his conception of the
practical workings of such organizations in the following
language : "At first it will be necessary to divide the larger
municipalities into local districts in order to facilitate their
industrial activities. For the same reason every large
municipality in which the industrial life is very complex,
will have to organize the members of the same trade

* "Woman," p. 130.


or calling into separate ' labor groups.' But these inter-
mediary organizations are to be considered only as ad-
ministrative organs. The municipality remains the owner
and the authority in all industrial activity. Hence the
members of the group may assert the right of existence as
against the municipality, but they have no claim to a
division of the product of the group's labor in any fixed
proportion. . . .

"The municipality may establish or dissolve the labor
group and may assign to it members, work and ma-
terial. . . . The managers of the labor group are ap-
pointed and discharged by the municipality. . . .

"When the socialist state has become firmly established,
the labor groups may be transformed with great caution
in the direction of greater democracy." ^

These ideas are, of course, purely speculative, and there
seems to be no valid reason why the managers and foremen
of the "labor group" should not be elected by the group
members at the very outset as suggested, for instance, by
Laurence Gronlund.^ But the ideas are, nevertheless,
valuable as indications of one of the possible arrangements
under socialism.

The city with or without political and industrial sub-
divisions will thus absorb the most important govern-
mental activities under socialism, and the central govern-
ment will as a result be limited to the management of the
"national" industries and to the enactment of general
laws and regulations.

For while the city will enjoy a much larger measure of
independence under socialism than it does to-day, it is

* "Neue Staatslehre," 2d Edition, pp. 199, 200.

^ "The Cooperative Commonwealth," Boston, 1893, p. 186.


not reasonable to suppose that it will be clothed with com-
plete autonomy or the power to pass legislation of a general
character. To confer such powers on the municipality
would mean to weaken the state and to paralyze its
usefulness as a factor in the industrial life of the nation.

The state being thus retained under socialism, what
will be the political form of its administration ? Will it be
republican or monarchic?

To the American reader the question may seem idle,
but it is, nevertheless, true that it has been the subject of
considerable differences of opinion in the ranks of the
socialists of Europe.

Of the early socialist writers Saint-Simon and Fourier
asserted that a constitutional monarchy was not neces-
sarily incompatible with socialism. Karl Rodbertus, the
friend of Ferdinand Lassalle, held similar views, and even
Lassalle himself was not entirely opposed to the notion of
a "social kingdom."

Of the modern writers on socialism Anton Menger seeks
to solve the problem by the following theory : —

"Like all great questions of politics between princes
and nations, this is a question of power. The answer de-
pends upon the revolutionary strength of the nation and
upon the power which the monarchy has attained in the
course of its historical development. Thus the socialist
state will probably appear in the form of a republic in the
Latin countries. On the other hand, the dynasties of
England, Germany and other Germanic countries may
through a proper policy assure the maintenance of the
monarchy after the establishment of the socialist regime
for some time, perhaps even for an indefinite period." ^

* "Neue Staatslehre," pp. 171, 172.


What seems to lend some plausibility to this peculiar
conception is the fact that the Englishmen, the Germans
and the other Germanic peoples attribute but a secondary
importance to the form of government of present society.
There are no aggressive republicans in England, not even
among the socialists, and the socialists of Norway, after
the recent separation of their country from Sweden, sub-
mitted to the election of another king without violent

The sentiments of the German social-democrats on the
respective merits of the republic and monarchy were well
expressed by August Bebel in the International Socialist
Congress at Amsterdam on the occasion of his famous
oratorical duel with the eloquent leader of French socialism,
Jean Jaures.

"As much as we envy you Frenchmen your republic,"
exclaimed he, "and as much as we wish it for ourselves,
we will not allow our skulls to be broken for it : it does not
deserve it. A capitalist monarchy or a capitalist repub-
lic, — both are class states, both are necessarily and from
their very nature made to maintain the capitalist regime.
Both direct their entire strength in the effort to preserve for
the capitalist class all the powers of the legislature. For
the moment that the capitalist class will lose its political
power, it will lose also its social and economic position.
The monarchy is not so bad and the capitalist republic is
not so good as you picture them." *

And similarly, A. Labriola, the brilliant young leader
of the extreme wing of Italian socialism, declares: —

"Class rule does not express itself in a monarchical

* "Sixibme Congres Socialist International," Compte-Rendu Analy-
tique, Brussels, 1904, p. 85.


form of government or in a republican form of govern-
ment, but in the fact that one group of men exercise the
political powers in their own interests. We must learn
to understand that there are no political forms which
exclude class rule, nor such which make it inevitable." ^

On the other hand, the Frenchman Benoit Malon
affirms categorically : —

"Since the republic is the political form of human
dignity, the states which will be founded by emancipated
nations, can only be republican. The socialist state must
be a federated republic, for federalism alone combines the
respect for local and particular needs and the relative
autonomy of secondary political organizations (munici-
palities, etc.) with the great interests of the nations freely
constituted." ^

On the whole it is safe to assume that barring per-
haps some peculiar tricks with which history sometimes
amuses itself, the socialist states will be republics, with or
without presidents or other individual heads. The affairs
of the socialist republics will in all probability continue
to be conducted by representative assemblies.

The modern parliaments owe their origin to the capital-
ist regime, but the social development of the last centuries
seems to have made them indispensable for the demo-
cratic management of the affairs of every large and com-
plex state, and as far as we can see to-day, a socialist
regime cannot offer anything better as a substitute. The
old town meetings and other direct legislative and de-
liberative bodies of citizens may be practical for the

1 Arturo Labriola, "Riforme e Rivoluzione Sociale," Milan, 1904,
p. 99.

2 B. Malon, "Precis de Socialisme," Paris, 1892, p. 297.


regulation of purely local affairs in small communities,
but they are entirely inadequate to deal with complex
problems of national import. Nor can the institutions of
the popular Initiative and Referendum take the place of
modern representative assemblies. The process of law-

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Online LibraryMorris HillquitSocialism in theory and practice → online text (page 10 of 26)