APOLOGY FOR VIOLENCE
Men who make revolutionary speeches to the people are bound to set before themselves a high standard of sincerity, because the workers understand their words in their exact and literal sense, and never indulge in any symbolic interpretation. When in 1905 I ventured to write in some detail on proletarian violence I understood perfectly the grave responsibility I assumed in trying to show the historic bearing of actions which our Parliamentary Socialists try to dissimulate, with so much skill. To-day I do not hesitate to assert that Socialism could not continue to exist without an apology for violence.
It is in strikes that the proletariat asserts its existence. I cannot agree with the view which sees in strikes merely something analogous to the temporary rupture of commercial relations which is brought about when a grocer and the wholesale dealer from whom he buys his dried plums cannot agree about the price. The strike is a phenomenon of war. It is thus a serious misrepresentation to say that violence is an accident doomed to disappear from the strikes of the future.
The social revolution is an extension of that war in which each great strike is an episode; this is the reason why Syndicalists speak of that revolution in the language of strikes; for them Socialism is reduced to the conception, the expectation of, and the preparation for the general strike, which, like the Napoleonic battle, is to completely annihilate a condemned régime.
Such a conception allows none of those subtle exegeses in which Jaurès excels. It is a question here of an overthrow in the course of which both employers and the State would be set aside by the organised producers. Our