R. C. K. (Robert Charles Kirkwood) Ensor.

Modern socialism, as set forth by socialists in their speeches, writings, and programmes; online

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Online LibraryR. C. K. (Robert Charles Kirkwood) EnsorModern socialism, as set forth by socialists in their speeches, writings, and programmes; → online text (page 1 of 35)
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Modern Socialism











A BOOK like the present could not possibly be completed on
its English side without the kind co-operation of many English
Socialists. For permission to reprint important matter which
has appeared otherwise, I am deeply indebted to Mr. and Mrs.
Sidney Webb, to the literary Trustees of William Morris, to
Mr. J. Keir Hardie, M.P., and to Mr. John Burns, M.P., to
the Fabian Society, to the Labour Leader, Limited, and to the
Clarion Newspaper Company,

For the foreign translations I am personally responsible,

except in the case of the extract from Kautsky's " Social

V Revolution." For this I am indebted to the kindness of Mr.

A J. B. Askew and the Twentieth Centjuy Press, whose translation

^ of the whole work has laid every English SociaUst under a

sensible obligation.

^ But for Mr. Askew, very little translation from foreign

I Socialist writers has been attempted since that of Marx's

^ classical works in the 'eighties. One result of this, and of the

N« Hmited currency of conscious Socialism in England, is that the

1 translator has no cut-and-dried vocabulary. Words like

. ^ " proletariate,' '* proletarian," " bourgeoisie,' " bourgeois,"

)* lack in English the everyday actuality which their equivalents



in French and German possess, and it is a question whether
to use them. I have used " proletariate," " proletarian,"
without hesitation, only regretting that the antithesis between
them and " capitalists " has not more generally replaced in
English the meaningless one between " poor " and " rich."
" Bourgeoisie " and " bourgeois " are more doubtfully adopted ;
the objection to substituting " middle-class " is, that Socialists
do not treat the bourgeoisie as anything intermediate, but
essentially as one of two parties to a duel. The poverty
of English in words expressing the general conceptions of
sociology is not confined to English Socialism. We had to
borrow "Philistine" from Germany, and we have still no
equivalent for "rentier."

English people interested in Socialism may miss a reference
to certain movements, which in this country are its allies,
though elsewhere sometimes its rivals — such as "Christian
Socialism," or the tendencies expressed by Carlyle and
Ruskin. To treat these upon a European scale, however,
would have meant going very far afield without really increas-
ing knowledge of Socialism pc7- se. I have, therefore, with
some regret, left them wholly on one side.

In conclusion, I must thank a great number of friendly
advisers, not all Socialists, for much friendly advice and

October, 1903.






General Introduction

. I. The Difference between Modern and Utopian

Socialism. By A. Bebel

II. Marxism as a Political Standpoint. By W.

III. An Account of Marxian Theory. By F. Engels

IV. The Programme ok the " Communist Manifesto."

By Karl Marx and F. Engels
V. The Standpoint of Lassalle ....
VI. The St. Mandk Programme. By A. Millerand
VII. French Reformist Socxalis.m. By A. Millerand
VIII. The Labour Question from the Socialist Stand-
point. By William Morris ....
IX. Problems of Modern Industry. By Sidney and

Beatrice Webb 90

.• X. Whether Class Antagonism IS Softening Down. By

K. Kautsky 114

XI. Social Reform in Germany and France. By G. von

Vollmar 135

XII. The Revolutionary and Reformist Controversy,
.\s illustrated at the Bordeaux Congress of the
French Socialist Party. With a Comment by
the Executive of the Socialist Party of France 163

XIII. The Theory of Increasing Misery, as discussed


Democratic Party 187

XIV. Socialism and the General Strike. By J. Jaures.

With a Resolution passed by the Dutch Socialist
Congress at Enscheede after the General Strike

IN Holland, 1903 191

- , XV. Socialism and the Capitalistic Transformation of

Agriculture. By E. Vandervelde . . .197


XVI. Socialism and Agriculture as officially re-
garded BY THE German Social Democratic

Party 219

XVII. Socialism and the Free Trade Controversy. By

Sidney and Beatrice Webb 228

XVIII. The Economics of Direct Employment. By the

Fabian Society 241

XIX. Municipal Socialism. By John Burns, M.P. . 264
XX. Socialism and Co-operation. By E. Anseele . 284
XXI. The Policy of Independent Labour. Two

Articles by J. Keir Hardie, M.P. . . . 302
XXII. The Programme of the German Social Demo-
cratic Party 316

XXIII. The Programme of the Belgian Labour Party . 322

XXIV. The Programme of the Austrian Social Demo-

cratic Party 333

XXV. The Programme of the French Socialist Party 338
XXVI. Programmes of the English Socialist Organiza-
tions —

I. The Social Democratic Federation . 350
11. The Independent Labour Party . . 356
III. The Fabian Society .... 35S
XXVII. Constitution of the Labour Represent.ation

Committee 366

XXVIII. Two Election Addresses of 1903 —

I. Of the Social Democratic Group in

the German Reichstag . . . 370

II. Of Will Crooks, M.P .... 376

XXIX. A Forecast. By Anatole France . 380

Index 383


Socialism has too long and varied a history for its study, with
that of the different national problems which it implies, to be
profitably attempted as a whole within short compass. Some
standpoints for abstraction must be selected. In this volume
there are two ; and the subject is the political Modern
Socialism of i\iQ present. It is, of course, impossible political
to know the present without knowing something of "^^'^ '^'"*
its antecedents ; but the antecedents illustrated here are intro-
duced rather for that reason than for the sake of mere anti-
quarianism. Thus Marx, Engels, and Lassalle appear in this
volume ; but the important thing for its purposes is not what
they actually meant to teach, so much as what the modern
Socialist politicians of France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, or
England have learned from them.

There are two advantages in this method. On the one
hand. Socialism is a faith whose part in politics was never so
great as it is to-day, nor ever seemed surer of an important
future ; on the other, the political Socialism now confronting
the world is singularly little realized by English politicians.
The majority of them still confuse it with a Socialism of sixty
years ago, and chiefly appreciate in that the picturesque
crudities which have not lasted.

This ignorance is the less excusable, because the Socialist
parties regularly do a thing which no others do — formulate
a written programme. Of these a considerable its pro-
number are made available to English readers in s^'ammes.
the present volume. They may, of course, be read with some
reserves, especially where not recent. But the oldest here

ix b


given, the Erfurt Programme of the German party, only dates
from 189 1 ; and although, if it were now re-examined, many
points in it might claim revision, they are insignificant beside
what would still be unanimously upheld. Each programme
declares certain principles, and appends to them a list of
"immediate" reforms. These lists repay study, and if,
perhaps, they strike an English reader as slapdash, he should
remember the Continental aversion to shackling the legislator
by forecasting legislation in detail.^ The foreign programmes
have, in fact, been threshed out and voted upon by large
assemblies democratically representing very large organized

Let us here first briefly review the extent of Socialism in
Europe. For this we may usefully classify Continental
Its extent in countries into those which have representative
Europe. democratic Governments and those which have

not. Among the former may be reckoned France, Italy,
Switzerland, and Denmark ; among the latter, Germany,
Austria, Spain,^ and Russia. Belgium, Holland, and Sweden
we might class as "mixed;" their Governments are essen-
tially Parliamentary, but not democratically representative.^
Obviously, Socialists are in a different position in the demo-
cratic and undemocratic countries. In the former they can
at once exert influence in proportion to their numbers ; can
profitably agitate for reforms one at a time ; can negotiate
with and even enter the Governments. In the latter they
cannot ; their only immediate aim must be to multiply their
numbers as a party, and fur this a hard-and-fast aggressive
programme and uncompromising resistance to their arbitrary
Governments have been found of most service. Here, too,
their organization cannot lose sight of an ultimate appeal to

* Cp. Sir C. Ilbert's Legislative Methods and For tns, chaps, iii. and xi.

' Spain has nominally a liberal iranchise, but its operation is an
acknowledged farce.

' Belgium is the nearest to being so, but a system of privileged plural
voting has still to be surmounted by a working-class party.


force, not, perhaps, to instal Socialism, but to instal preliminary
democracy; which has not been won without force, or the
threat of force, in any modern State. They tend, therefore, in
undemocratic countries to be the more numerous, united,
doctrinaire, and imposing, and in democratic countries to be
fewer, less united, less uncompromising, but more constructive
and more influential.

In France, Italy, and Denmark, Socialists have for some
years inspired and dominated the Government.^ In 1899 the
Dreyfus case was skilfully used by M. Jaures,
leader of the French Socialist party, to effect a
working agreement between the Socialists and other demo-
cratic parties in France, whence issued the Waldeck-Rousseau
Cabinet, with M. Millerand, a Socialist, for its Minister of
Commerce. The Cabinet lasted from June, 1899, to June,
1902, when, after winning a general election, it gave way to
the very similar Cabinet of M. Combes, also dependent on
Socialist votes, although not including a Socialist. Both
Cabinets have been fertile from the Socialistic standpoint.
In Italy, 2 in February, 1901, a similar situation was realized by
the Zanardelli-Giolitti Government, which con-
tained no Socialists, but depended on Socialist
support. The negotiating parties were Signor Giolitti on
the side of the Government, and Signor Turati on that
of the Socialists, and the result was a Socialistic policy
which may fairly be said to have changed the face of Italian

' In France this policy has provoked a Socialist split, two sections under
MM. Guesde and Vaillant having left the " French Socialist party," and,
finally, coalesced into the (much smaller) " Socialist party of France." In
Italy there has not been a split, but there have been extremely violent

- The Italian Socialist party is of recent but very rapid growth. It
sent to the Chamber in 1895 eight deputies, in 1897 sixteen, and in 1900
thirty- three. In 1900 it captured control of no less than 126S municipal
and communal councils. A remarkable law, passed since by the Zanar-
delli-Giolitti Government, has given Italian local bodies facilities for
developing municipal Socialism which are unique.


administration.' This came partially to an end in June, 1903,

when the Socialists, perhaps prematurely, broke away, and

Signor Giolitti resigned office. In Denmark, during

Denmark. ° .,,„.,. , ' , .°

the same period, the Socialists supported, to their

advantage, the Radical Government of Professor Deuntzer.
Shortly before the general election of June, 1903, they broke
off relations, and in the election polled 29 per cent, more
votes than in 1901.^ In all these three countries very remark-
able experiments in Socialistic legislation and administration
have been initiated. In Switzerland Socialists are prominent
only in the towns, especially Zurich,^ and their forte is muni-
cipal Socialism, In 1901 their national party organization
absorbed the chief non-Socialist workers' organization, the
Griitli, and has since made progress.

Turning to the undemocratic countries, the first to consider
is, of course, Germany. The State Parliaments and the town
councils are elected on very undemocratic bases,
and few Socialists figure on them. The exception
is the little state of Hesse, where, however, their activity, though
interesting, cannot compare with those we have mentioned.
The imperial Reichstag is elected by universal suffrage, but its
active power is nearly ;///, and its composition is vitiated by
an obsolete distribution of seats.* The remarkable votes polled
at Reichstag elections by the Social Democrats *" are indications,

' For a recent summary of some of its labour measures, see an article
by Mr. Bolton King in the Economic Jouinaliox: September, 1903.

* In 1895 eight Danish Socialists were elected to the Folkething, in 1901
fourteen, in 1903 sixteen. An exceptional feature of the party is its strength
in rural districts.

^ They have (1903) thirty-nine representatives on the cantonal council
of Zurich.

■• The constituencies have not been altered since 1869, when Germany
was still mainly agricultural. Hence the Social Democrats, whose strength
lies in the new great towns, are under-represented. In 1898 each of the
56 Socialists elected was returned on an average poll of 37,626 votes, each
of the no Clericals by 13,228, each of the 54 Conservatives by 15,911, and
each of the 47 National Liberals by 20,666.

* In 1877 they polled 493,288 voles ; in 18S1 (under the first pressure


therefore, of the power which they ought to have rather than
of any power which they have got. The Social Democrats are
in the position of seeing their immense hold on the masses
of the people officially recorded every five years; they have
in the Reichstag a public platform, on which they can criticize
and expose the governing class with all the great ability which
many of them possess ; but they cannot legislate or administrate
an iota. The position is very bad for them, the barren irrita-
tions of a standing injustice being substituted indefinitely for
the fruitful if sobering effects of governmental experience.
German superior intelligence, and in particular the German
workman's exceptional readiness to think things out, has
preserved their political sanity ; but it is idle to expect from
them the Protean constructive genius called forth in Socialism
by democratic opportunities. Closely allied to them is the
Austrian party. ^ In the industrial districts, especially in
Bohemia, it is numerically strong, although no
such record of its numbers is available as is
afforded in Germany by the Reichstag elections. Its leaders
show favourably among Austrian party politicians, and have
displayed skill in dealing with the Austrian race difficulty. As
theorists they have been helped by distinguished University
professors ; one need only name in this connection Schaffle
and Anton Menger. Thirdly must be considered Russian
Socialism. Its existence in Russia is, of course,
wholly underground, and it consequently tends
to be violent and non-constructive. There is evidence that
its propagandists aftect widely the new class of Russian indus-
trial workmen and direct many of their ebullitions. But its
chief known influence is that exerted by Russian exiles in
Western Europe. These include a surprising number of able
men ; but their ideas, conceived with reference to a despotic

of the Anti-Socialist Law) 311,961 ; in 1890 (the year of its repeal)
1,497,298 ; in 1898 this rose to 2,107,076 ; and in 1903, to 3,008,000.

' There is a separate party in Hungary, of long standing, but restricted
by the small scale of urban industry.


and agrarian environment, are not always of service to in-
dustrial democracies. Lastly, we must note Spain, the one
country where Socialism seems eclipsed by Anar-
chism among working men. It would seem that an
utterly corrupt Government blights Socialism more than an
utterly despotic one, because it discourages all faith in political
activity. Among middle-class parties, however, the Spanish
Republicans go far in the Socialistic direction.

Coming to the three States — Belgium, Holland, and
Sweden — which we classed as " mixed," we find Socialism in
each with a strong hold on the urban proletariate, but held
back by favoured rural voters. Far the most remarkable of
their parties is the Belgian, owing to the scale
e gium. ^^ Belgian mining and manufacture, the old con-
nection of Brussels with the International Working Men's
Association, and the country's central situation between
French, German, and English influences. Workmen of genius
and brilliant " intellectuals," co-operators, trade-unionists,
jurists, economists, artists, and notable authors, all work
harmoniously in its ranks, and perhaps it is the one Socialist
party in which "reformists" and "revolutionaries" rather
complement than curtail each other. In Parliament, although
the weightiest opposition party, it can as yet take no part in
government ; but it has done a great constructive work outside
by focussing co-operation, trade-unionism, and Socialism into
a single movement. It tries to fight the worker's battle all
round — as consumer, producer, and citizen ; its methods are
not unique, but their co-ordination is, and the effort at popular
training and culture which goes with them. In matters of
theory the Belgians have particularly pioneered the agrarian
question. They formulated an agrarian programme as long
ago as 1893, whereas neither the Germans nor the French
have yet done so.

Of the Continental situation generally it may be said that
Socialism has a party in every industrial country, which in all
except Spain is increasing, and in most at a phenomenal rate.


la the democracies it already lays a hand upon government ;
elsewhere it tends to be the backbone of the Opposition. At
present it seems almost the only force, outside the reaction,
which has new ideas ; the older Liberals mark time, and the
Radicals, who are coming to stand between them and the
Socialists, borrow their novelties from the latter. Its partisans
are still mainly urban, and the chief force against them is that
of a Conservatism relying on rural votes. In Roman Catholic
countries this force is commonly organized by the clergy.

Outside the Continent Socialism is practically confined to
certain of the English-speaking countries.^ These are the
United Kingdom, the United States, and the colonies of
Australia and New Zealand. The last have realized more
Socialistic measures than any other States in . strai'a
the world, ^ and their experiences are reacting and New
upon European theory. Every Australian colony Zealand,
possesses a separate Labour party, but in New Zealand Labour
has amalgamated with a very advanced sort of Radicalism to
form a Progressive party. The Queensland Labour party is
the only one which has been Socialist in an orthodox sense ; it
was also until 1903 the least compromising, and has least in-
fluenced government. The others, which all grew up out of
defeated trade-unionism, have squeezed their Socialistic legisla-
tion, as in France and Italy, out of non-Socialist allies. Its
effect has been to emphasize the value and possibilities of the
State-regulation of industry as against State-ownership in the
more obvious sense. Not only have factory and workshop
regulations been carried much further than in Europe, but two
quite new principles have been put into practice — the State-
enforcement of minimum wage-rates and the State-enforcement
of industrial peace. The former was realized by the system of
wage-boards, established in Victoria in 1896, and in South
Australia in 1900; while both have been attained by that of

1 There is also a party in Japan, which publishes several newspapers.
- The standard account of them is State Experiments in Australia and.
New Zealand, by the Hon, W. P. Reeves (London, 1902).


compulsory State-arbitration in trade disputes, first devised
in New Zealand in 1894 by the Hon. W. P. Reeves. Of these
systems Mr. Reeves's, as amended by experience, has pre-
vailed ; and not only does New Zealand persist in it, but New
South Wales (1901), West Australia (1902), and the Common-
wealth Government ^ have paid it the compliment of imitation.

In the United States Socialism is, perhaps, less forward than
in any other democratic country. This seems due to the
The United extremely individualist tradition, descended with
states. the Constitution from the founders of the Republic,

and also to the corruption of politics, for which that tra-
dition may be partly responsible.^ A Socialist vote is, how-
ever, growing in many centres, quickened by dislike of the
Trusts ; and outside it stretches a penumbra of semi-Socialist
conviction, which first won recognition at the St. Louis Con-
vention of the Democratic party in 1896. Already some of the
most widely read journals find it worth their while to exploit
the tendency. The high education of the American people,
their liability to epidemics of thought, the extreme concentra-
tion of their industry and inequality of their wealth-production,
all favour the possibility of Socialism coming to them in a flood.^

There remains the Socialism of the United Kingdom.
How much is there of it ? A superficial observer might say
The United none. Certainly there are few constituencies
Kingdom. which will elect to Parliament a " Socialist ''
candidate, and it may be doubted whether fifty thousand
electors call themselves "Socialists" in politics. Others,
again, looking at our old and far advanced factory laws, the
strength of our trade-unions, the numbers of our co-operators,

^ The Commonwealth Bill, introduced in 1903, was dropped, but with
an engagement that it should reappear the following session.

* Per co7itra, it seems that a policy of municipalization has tended to
purify municipal politics ; Chicago and New York are both instances.

^ In 1900, at the Presidential Election, about 130,000 votes were cast
for the Socialist candidates. In 1902, at the elections for State Governors,
nearly 300,000 Socialist votes were cast.


the progress of our municipalities towards the appropriation
of pubhc services, towards direct employment, and even (by
wage clauses in public contracts) towards the fixing of a
standard of Ufe, say that without knowing it we are among
the most Socialistic nations. So far as what we have achieved
goes, this is probably true, or was till a few years ago ;
but as regards what we are, and what we are likely to
achieve further, more doubt may be felt. All the develop-
ments mentioned dovetail into the Socialistic idea, and nearly
all have grown from Socialist seed. But it is precisely the
inner spiritual bond between them — now lacking — which is
Socialism, and without a re-birth of which no Socialist can feel
confidence in their future.

The reader of this volume will not require here a long
account of Socialistic theory. Summarily we may describe it
as the doctrine, that whereas the means of pro- socialistic
duction (capital, with land and raw materials) are theory,
as indispensable to every man's existence as his own body,
society should secure for all its members an equally free
access to them, by disallowing private property in them (just
as it has secured for all the equally free disposition of
their bodies, by disallowing slavery). Private property, as it
exists, exists solely in virtue of social action, and the motive
for that action is social utility. Its aim is to secure for the
producer the means of production, so that he who will work
may work out his own salvation. Socialists believe this aim to
be unrealized by it, owing to the tendency of capital to con-
centration.^ This tendency divides society into two classes —

• This tendency, or law, which seems valid for all industry except pos-
sibly farming, is that in adding capitals 2 + 2 do not = 4, but 4 + x, the
X representing a special advantage of concentration. Thus ;^200 capital
will enable a man to do more than twice as much as £100 would, or
;^200,ooo more than twice as much as ;i^loo,ooo. x will not always be
realized, but will always tend to be. Its value was enormously raised by
the Industrial Revolution, and seems to be still rising. It operates inside

Online LibraryR. C. K. (Robert Charles Kirkwood) EnsorModern socialism, as set forth by socialists in their speeches, writings, and programmes; → online text (page 1 of 35)