1 68 Studies in Socialism
which the revolutionary proletariat can mount and ride to victory, and in the economic world no cataclysm which will set up in a single day the class domination of the Communist proletariat, and a new system of production on the ruins of overthrown capitalism. These hypotheses have not, however, been altogether vain. If the prole- tariat has been unable to seize the control of a single one of the bourgeois revolutions, it has nevertheless in a hundred and twenty years forced its way into all the agitations of the revolutionary bourgeoisie; and it will continue to profit by the inevitable internal conflicts of the bourgeoisie. If there has not been a complete and revolutionary reaction of the instinct of self-preservation under the pressure of a complete capitalist catastrophe, there have nevertheless been innumerable crises, that, showing as they do the essential disorder of capitalist production, have naturally incited the proletarians to prepare a new order. But they commit a serious error who expect the letter of the prophecy to be fulfilled, who look for the sud- den downfall of capitalism, and the sudden ac- cession of the proletariat to power as the result either of a great political collapse of bourgeois society, or a great economic collapse of bourgeois production.
It is not by an unexpected counter-stroke of political agitation that the proletariat will gain supreme power, but by the methodical and legal organisation of its own forces under the law of