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This unexpected issue must be in part attributed to the activity of the Socialists and Anarchists of Lyons, where the Congress was held, but chiefly to the effect of the Socialistic Propaganda all over France.
An active propaganda is carried on for this purpose by means of speeches and meetings (propagande parlée), by means of special organs in the press and in literature (propagande écrite), and by means of strikes, petitions, and electioneering (propagande agie). The first is regarded as the most important; “ la suprematie appartient à la parole,” says Malon, himself more of a thinker and writer than speaker. This is natural enough in a country so much under the influence of phrases as France.
The literature of Socialism, especially when compared with the brilliant productions of its earlier founders from St. Simon to Louis Blanc, is poor, both as to quality and quantity. The controversy between Socialism and Society is reduced to practical and
chistes, républicains modérés, radicaux, voire même socialistes ; ils s'entendent à merveille pour savoir, sous tous les régimes, conserver leurs privilèges et monopoles.
Actuellement, le népotisme s'étale honteusement ; le fonctionnarisme est une des plaies de la République, les rges augmentent, le budget ne s'équilibre pas, et une classe dégénérée assiste impassible à cette régression.
Pouvons-nous réagir ? Oui et non! Non, si nous croyons que le progrès seul est le maître du temps, des choses, et des hommes; si nous nous laissons berner par le parlementarisme ; si nous pensons que l'état dans lequel nous sommes peut s'améliorer avec nos adversaires d'origine. Oui, si, sans nous payer de mots, nous disons en observant la marche de la société, en constatant la concentration capitaliste, que nous courons à un cataclysmo.
Qu'entre temps nous arrachions à nos adversaires des réformes partielles, soit ! mais compter sur ces réformes pour arriver à un tout, est une erreur scientifique. L'homme qui compte sur le progrès sans voir que le progrès est enrayé par l'organisation actuelle est an naïf. Celui qui, pour s'émanciper, ne fait aucun effort, commet inconsciemment une lacheté.
La crise irá s'aggravant, parce que vous consommerez de moins en moins. Aussi peut-être se débarrassera-t-on de nous en nous faisant écraser dans une guerre étrangère ou dans une guerre civile provoquée à dessein.
Il ne le faut pas.
Il faut arracher pied à pied à la classe dirigeante ce qui nous est nécessaire afin de nous armer dans la lutte pour l'existence. Il faut nous instruire, serrer les rangs, et ne compter que sur nous-mêmes.
Pourquoi ne pas avoir, confiance ? Nous sommes le nombre, le droit, l'avenir dans l'humanité, ne nous mêlons pas aux classes pourries qui se disputent le pouvoir.
Restons nous-mêmes, songeons que le travail est appelé à triompher du parasitismo et qu'une nouvelle société s'impose.
Cette transformation se fera-t-elle sans soubresaut ?-en citoyens sincères nous disons hardiment: Non!
A la propriété individuelle doit succéder la propriété collective ou commune, la socialisation des moyens de production remplacera l'exploitation de l'homme, de la femme et de l'enfant.
Nous luttons pour une organisation égalitaire, contre l'égoisme, le vol, nous voulons être libres et égaux, et nous nous déclarons nettement socialistes révolutionaires.
A vous, frères de travail, de rester avec ceux qui vous trompent ou de marchor resolument à l'armée d'avant-garde, en criant avec nous : Vi Révolution sociale!
LE CONGRÈS DES SYNDICATS OUVRIERS DE FRANCE
narrow issues. The best writers of the party are journalists, and yet the general impression produced by a perusal of the Socialist press—and the numbers of papers representing various shades of opinion have been considerably increased of late, and there are a score at least, not counting “l'Hydre anarchiste"—is not favourable to this form of fugitive literature. Those are the most successful papers, which, like Le Cri du Peuple, owe their large circulation to the fact that they are not purely propogandist organs, or journaux de doctrine. They are popular on account of the attractive manner in which they treat politics, the events of the day, and social scandals, as seen through Socialist spectacles. The Cri du Peuple, under the late management of its founder, Vallés, was noted for its excellent feuilleton ; it has since become remarkable for the nauseous details of every unsavoury story culled from the law reports, or “picked up” somewhere, and accompanied by hideous illustrations to paint contemporary vices,* real and imaginary, but it is to be feared also to minister to the prurient taste of some of its readers. Its pages at this moment are covered with details of the Caffarel scandal. However, as to skilful arrangement and popular adaptation, i.e. as a means to the end, there can be no doubt the revolutionary press of France serves well the purpose for which it is intended ; it knows how to influence the passions of those whom it aims to rouse in revolt against society without in an equal degree informing their understanding.
As to literature of a more permanent kind, it has to be noted that French Socialism is only just beginning to collect its intellectual forces after a season of almost complete literary barrenness, which intervenes between the old and new Socialism. The sudden awakening out of this drowsy state of the Socialist mind has produced a condition of bewildered agitation rather than calm reflectiveness. The reason of this is given by Malon. The Publicists of the party, like King Lear in the storm, he says, have to philosophize in the midst of political strife and social tempests, and therefore what they aim at is to shout, so as to make themselves heard—"crier pour se faire entendre.” It must be owned that in this they succeed well enough.
* A quarrel ensued a little while ago between the proprietoresse, Madame Séverine, and some of the chief redacteurs of the paper, because the latter refused to express sympathy with Duval, who had been found guilty of a robbery of diamonds, simply because he acknowledged himself to be an Anarchist. G. Deville, A Duc Quercy, E. Fournière, A. Goublé, Jules Guésde, and E. Massard retired accordingly.
Le Socialiste is the actual organ of the more advanced section of Socialists, the socalled Guesdistes. Its real character may be described in its own words, contained in a circular addressed to its subscribers last year. " Le Socialiste est un brûlot de combat qui s'addresse particulièrement au militares du parti qui vonlent approfondir les questions qui ne se traitent dans aucun autre organ, c'est faire acte d'action de solidarité révolutionaire que le soutenir," &c.
Facts, however, do the work of the recruiting sergeant for Socialism where theories fail. La grande crise, spreading discontent among la petite industrie and la petite bourgeoise converts them into allies of Socialism. The gradual absorption of small peasant properties created by the Revolution in large estates, diminishes the force of the once most powerful antagonist of Socialism-rural Conservatism. The flocking of the agricultural population into towns swells the suburban Proletariat, where Socialism finds a prolific soil for the dissemination of its views. It has its more or less sincere sympathizers in every section of society, among the members of the haute aristocratie, who profess themselves earnestly in favour of a "good Socialism," and among influential members of the Church, whose aim is to make a “revolution backwards." The only organized form of Christian Socialism, “l'Oeuvre des Cercles catholiques d'ouvriers,” under the leadership of Le Comte de Mun, agrees in one point at least with the Socialists, i.e. in its antagonism against the “Hagiolatrie bourgeoise.” But this iconoclasm of middle-class idols may easily become a war of extermination against the class itself. French Socialism also profits by the mistakes of its antagonists, who either underrate its importance or fail to oppose it with the proper weapons. Such antagonists—and they are to be found among the best living Economists in the country-firm believers, almost bigots, in the doctrines of laissez faire, who, whilst appearing to confute its main principles are only directing their attacks against its least important positions, and thus become, though unconsciously, its most powerful advocates. No one can read the elaborate arguments against Socialism of such writers as Leroy Beaulieu or M. Courtois, the perpetual chairman of the Society of Political Economists, without being impressed with the conviction that the tone of special pleading adopted in their criticisms, their doctrinaire superciliousness, and utter incapacity to understand the Socialist point of view, can only serve one purpose, and that is to confirm class prejudices, and to retard conciliatory measures, and so to accentuate la lutte des classes, so earnestly longed for by Socialists.
Socialism, too, gains strength from the growth of irreconcilable antagonism between employers and employed, more pronounced, perhaps, in Republican France than in any other civilized country in Europe, except Belgium. It feeds alike on the bitter recollections of harsh measures of repression in the past, and on hopes in measures to be wrung from the unwilling Governments in the future. It looks back into the history of its own development, and the persistence of Socialist ideas through good and evil report, and in them sees the proof of its own undying vitality,
as well as the earnest of its final triumph. It watches the present political position with the calm self-collectedness that comes from a consciousness of its latent strength; and with cool calculation is determined to make the best use of it. It sees in the accumulation of large bodies of working men in factories the means of drilling the labour bataillons, and of mobilizing the armies of industry for possible eventualities. In the rapid spread of ideas from the centre to the circumference by growing facilities of communication, and the contact of the rural population with the masses collected in the cities, it detects a means for the organization of the labour party in town and country, with greater compactness and completeness. In its deadly conflict with the Bourgeoisie Socialism reminds its opponent that the weapons of their warfare are essentially the same, and that its own mission is to complete the work left unaccomplished by the first Revolution ; that similar social conditions and contingencies in both cases must produce identical results; that, as the Bourgeois Republic was the work of the Revolution of the past, so the Social Republic will be the work of the Revolution of the future; that, as the Revolution of the last century succeeded because it was the incarnation of the Liberalism of the Third Estate, so the coming Revolution will prove equally successful in emancipating the Fourth Estate, because the Proletariat is Socialism incarnate.
Such is the position taken up by French Socialism in most recent times, and such seem to be its prospects. Its actual proposals are not likely to commend themselves to the critical eye of the calm looker-on, or the common sense of the bulk of the French nation. But in the heated atmosphere of political agitation, and the forthcoming struggles of party, the representatives of Socialism within the Chamber of Deputies, and those outside it, will exercise no inconsiderable influence in shaping the future destinies of France; whilst not a few thoughtful observers of the Socialist movement in every part of Europe will watch with interest, and not without anxiety, the further developments of Social Democracy in its original home.
WHAT WOMEN WRITE AND READ.
Whilst waiting for books some time ago, in a certain well-known circulating library, I overheard the conversation of two gentlemen who had come there with the same object as myself. One of them was strapping up three red volumes for which he had asked.
“Hullo! H-," said his friend, “what have you got there ? '
The other turned the backs of the books towards the speaker, saying :
*My wife and the girls wanted' something exciting,' so I thought this would do for them; A Broken Butterfly, by Mrs. Hampton Wick."
“ Pah!” replied his friend, “I know the book; one of your regular 'woman's novels. I never read such mawkish rot; how they can write or sell such stuff now-a-days, I can't think.”
· Well!" answered the other, “I suppose there are some people, that sort of stuff goes down with, for I see it is in its fourth edition.”
“More's the pity,” replied his companion, nodding a farewell, and the two men went their respective ways, and I went mine, reflecting on what I had just overheard, and pondering over the rough words of criticism, ungallant, but only too true in nine cases out of ten.
Who is answerable for this state of things, the authors, or those for whom they write their three-volume trash ?
Carlyle wrote wise words when he said, “Considering what bookwriters do in the world, and what the world does with book-writers, I should say it is the most anomalous thing the world at present has to show. The writer of a book, is not he a preacher, preaching not to this parish, or that, but to all men in all times and places ? Not the wretchedest circulating library novel, which foolish girls thumb and con in remote villages, but will help to regulate the actual practical weddings and households of those foolish girls."
The demand certainly seems equal to the supply, or else we should see many a circulating library in town and country fail for want of eustomers and subscribers, and many a railway bookstall close its shelves. Ask any manager of such a firm or establish