Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/146
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forces back of it. They are perfectly conscious of their political power. They have begun to hold municipal office, they know that they make the deputies, the members of the provincial legisla- tures, and the senators, and they would have no tolerance for a great social movement in which they took no part.
I think it extremely short-sighted to say that if the peasants are neutral, that will be enough, that all Socialism asks of them is to stand aside pass- ively. No social force can remain neutral when a great movement is on foot. If they are not with us, they will be against us.
And, anyway, since the CoUectivist system presupposes the co-operation of the peasants (for example, they must be willing to sell their pro- duce at the common shop) their passive resistance would be enough to starve and defeat the Revolu- tion. They know their power and they are not going to let it drop from their hands. Even the economic initiative they have shown for several years, the spirit of progress that animates them, everything, points to the fact that they would not allow their share in great social events to be a purely passive one, when those events will have an immediate reaction on their own lives. Either they will help them, or they will defeat them.
And yet another element must be considered. The privileged classes have to-day infinitely more authority, and therefore more power, than the privileged classes before 1789. The industrial