Page:Georges Sorel, Reflections On Violence (1915).djvu/35

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21
LETTER TO DANIEL HALEVY

Heaven, he assumes the attitudes of a matador, at whose feet a furious bull has fallen.[1]

If I were more vain about my literary efforts than I am, I should like to imagine that he was thinking of me when he said in the Senate, on November 16, 1906, that "one must not mistake a fanatic for a party, nor rash statements for a system of doctrine." There is only one pleasure greater than that of being appreciated by intelligent people, and that is the pleasure of not being understood by blunderheads, who are only capable of expressing in a kind of jargon what serves them in the place of thought. But I have every reason to suppose that, in the brilliant set which surrounds this charlatan,[2]there is not one who has ever heard of the Mouvement Socialiste. It is quite within the comprehension of Viviani and his companions in the Cabinet that people may attempt an insurrection when they feel themselves solidly organised enough to take over the State; but

  1. "I have seen violence myself," he told the Senate on November 16, 1906, "face to face. I have been, day after day, in the midst of thousands of men who bore on their faces the marks of a terrifying exaltation. I have remained in the midst of them, face to face and shoulder to shoulder." He boasted that in the end he had triumphed over the strikers in the Creusot workshops.
  2. In the course of the same speech, Viviani strongly insisted on his own Socialism, and declared that he intended "to remain faithful to the ideal of his first years of public life." If we are to judge by a brochure in 1897 by the Allemanistes, under the title La Vérité sur l' union socialiste. this ideal was opportunism; when he left Algeria for Paris, Viviani was transformed into a Socialist, and the brochure then asserts that his new attitude is a lie. Evidently this work was edited by fanatics with no understanding of the manners of polite society.

    [Allemanistes: this was the name given to the members of the "Revolutionary Socialist Workmen's Party" because Allemane was the best-known member of the group. They did not wish (in principle at any rate) to admit any but workmen into the party; they were for a long time very hostile to the parliamentary Socialists. During the Dreyfus affair they went with the rest and demanded a retrial; to-day they have disappeared, but they had some influence in the formation of the Syndicalist idea.—Trans. Note.]