Jean Jaurès, socialist and humanitarian/4
Although the underlying unity of his thought was remarkable, Jaurès was always growing and developing, and re-examining his ideas. He said of himself: “I do not make the puerile pretension of never having changed in twenty years of experience, of study and of struggle, or rather I will not so far calumniate myself as to say that Life has taught me nothing.” No nature could have been more open to the teachings of Life. As a very young man he was chiefly a student and he speaks of the separation of the life of the University from that of the practical world. Of Socialism, especially of German Socialist thinkers, he knew a great deal from books, while as yet he was absolutely unaware of the fact that socialist groups existed in France, that propaganda was going on, that there were even rival sects! When at last he came into contact with life and with the Socialist movement, and abandoned the student's world in which he had hitherto lived, the men and the facts with which he was now in relation influenced him almost too violently—the impression was so vivid that he could not for some time assert his own personality.
But whatever the developments and changes of his ideas as life went on, he declares that from the time he first entered public life, "the essential direction of my thoughts and of my efforts has always been the same. I have always been a Republican Socialist; it is always the Social Republic, the Republic of organized and sovereign work which has been my ideal. And it is for this that from the first day, with my inexperiences and my ignorances, I have fought."
Even while he sat during the first years of his Parliamentary life in the centre, this image of the Social Republic, where work would hold the place of highest honour was already in his mind.
Jaurès was a democrat, a Republican and an anti-clericalist as well as a Socialist. In other words he believed in freedom of thought and action for everyone, and hated tyranny, and he believed in the People. And those words of his, "I have always been a Republican and always been a Socialist," express his ardent belief in the continuous history of his country. "For Jaurès," says Rappoport, "Socialism carried on and realised the democratic Republic." Democracy, the Republic, implied equality in the political spheres; the social and economic sphere had still to be conquered. This fundamental thought of Jaurès must be borne in mind in considering how he differed from some of the other French Socialists over the questions of how Socialism could be brought about. To those Socialists who did not feel this continuity of history, so present to the mind of Jaurès, a Republican was no more of a friend than any other upholder of Capitalism; to Jaurès it seemed that the man who upheld the Republic was really working, without knowing it, for Socialism, since Socialism was implicit in Republicanism, and was its natural result.
With this faith in the meaning of the Republic, Jaurès could not, when he became a convinced Socialist, long agree to sit down and wait for a Revolution, for a social cataclysm. Nor could he believe that the proletariat, totally unprepared and untrained up to that moment, would suddenly find the force to upset our present-day society, with its million complications, and at the same time institute a wholly new order. Jaurès saw the falsity of all this, and after a few years he began to show unmistakable boredom and even indignation with these dogmatic formulæ, out of which it seemed to him that the life had fled. He was not perhaps wholly right, and the policy of allowing Socialists to participate in Radical Governments certainly needed to be acted on with caution if it were not to lead Socialists into positions of compromise and weakness. But it must be said that Jaurès never knocked down one dry formula just to put another in its place. He held no theory in a hard, narrow way; and if he wanted Socialists to be engaged in other work besides propaganda, it was not that he despised propaganda or neglected it. But his nature was large and full: he desired Life and to have it more abundantly. He could not stand by and let the whole life of France go on without taking part in it, influencing and being influenced by it. Rappoport says finely of him: "Jaurès was a vigorous labourer, full of gaiety and ardour, who never sulked over his work. He was a hard toiler who put all his flaming soul into his toil, which never stood idle. He had a veritable passion for work, for creation. He loved life and he was always trying to make it spring up round him. It was as if he were consumed by an immense need of infinite, of multiple and varied action."
Towards the end of the century the Socialist movement in France was seriously menaced by differences of opinion about method, which caused it to split into warring factions. The avoidance of such splits was of the very utmost importance to Jaurès. He was always working for unity, and he always longed to understand and be understood by others. He set himself therefore to make this matter of Socialist method as clear as possible. He felt that the divergence of opinion had arisen out of the desire of some Socialists to adapt themselves as they thought to modern conditions, while others, even at the end of the nineteenth century, still held fast to methods conceived fifty years before. So he went back to Marx and Engels, and noted that they, writing when the power of the worker was as yet much less developed than it is now, saw hope for the future in the idea that the lot of the workers was becoming worse and worse, and that this would go on until they were driven to a revolutionary rising by which power would pass into their hands. Jaurès saw this to have been a complete mistake. "It was not from absolute destitution that absolute liberation could come." If it were so the Socialists at the beginning of the twentieth century would have cause to feel hopeless indeed. For to Jaurès the "one undoubted fact which transcends all others" is the growth in numbers, in solidarity, in self-consciousness of the workers. They have gained the vote, they are organised in trade unions, and in co-operative societies, they have shorter hours and better pay, they are immensely better educated and have more weight than ever before. Many of them now have an ideal of a new social order founded on a different principle altogether from the present one. Whereas in the first third of the nineteenth century Labour straggled and fought against the crushing power of Capital, but was not conscious toward what end it was straining, it has now a definite aim. Jaurès gives the honour to Marx of having brought Socialism and the workers together. "From that time on, Socialism and the proletariat became inseparable."
So, to the question of how Socialism is to be brought about Jaurès makes first the general answer: "By the growth of the proletariat … This is the first and essential answer, and whoever does not accept it wholly and in its true sense necessarily places himself outside Socialist life and thought.… But what is certain is that the evolution is hastened, the forward movement vivified, enlarged and deepened by everything that increases the intellectual, economic, and political power of the proletariat."
So that when Jaurès again asks what will be the definite means by which the workers will push forward to Socialism, it is already obvious that he is not going to answer this question as Marx did. Marx had the thought of the great French Revolution and of those that followed it before his eyes, and it seemed to him that the change to a Socialist order was not possible without a revolutionary upheaval.
But Jaurès saw very clearly that if a democracy were not ready for the movement towards Socialism, it would reject the changes which a minority of the workers might have been able temporarily to bring about. While if it were ready—that is, if the majority of the people were in favour of Socialism—why should they not bring it about by legal means?
"Every other method, I repeat, is nothing but the expedient of a weak and ill-prepared class … It is not by an unexpected counter-stroke of political agitation that the proletariat will gain supreme power, but by the methodical and legal organization of its own forces under the law of the democracy and universal suffrage."
Jaurès leads us thus by a very simple argument to his main contention, the essential point in which he differed from the party of Jules Guesde, that the change to the new order will come gradually and by way of so-called Reform, and not by way of Revolution. It irritated Jaurès that Jules Guesde, the older Socialist leader, not content with advocating the method of propaganda as the only work for Socialists, and the catastrophic revolution as the daystar of their hopes, should also criticise with much bitterness each attempt to ameliorate the lot of the workers as it came within sight and was discussed in Parliament, although he was not opposed to the use of the vote.
Under the capitalist system, Guesde had said, all rights granted to the workers must remain a dead letter. Thus, medical assistance by the communes, compulsory insurance against accidents, workers' pensions, insurance against unemployment, would be all in vain. Nor did the partial or entire nationalization of the mines, the railways, refineries, weaving shops, blast-furnaces, etc., find any more favour in his eyes. He considered the nationalization of the postal and telegraphic services to have been a failure. The State under capitalism is no better than the private capitalist.
Why then, Jaurès asks, do Guesde and the Parti Ouvrier ask for the protection of the State against the private capitalist? Why, if State employment is so bad, is there such a demand for it? Obviously, answers Jaurès, because the State is not composed of capitalistic elements alone. It is not true that our present regime, bad as it is, exists wholly and entirely for the benefit of the privileged. The State, such a State as France at any rate, though it bears the vivid imprint of capitalism, also bears within itself the germ of the future, and by trying to influence it we are using the only certain means of influencing the future. Jaurès did not stop there. It is possible that if he had done so he would have gradually carried most of the Socialists along with him, for evidently to accept reforms, while pressing forward to greater ones, is a more attractive and hopeful way of working than always to be standing aside. But Jaurès was led on, partly through the political condition of the time, to the further position that members of the Socialist party should, if possible, enter the government if invited to do so, and this was the wedge which at the end of the century split the French Socialist party into two.
The Dreyfus affair had let in a flood of light on certain dangers that threatened France. During the thirty years which had passed since the foundation of the Republic, Frenchmen as a whole had grown to love this form of government more and more. But a large number of those who really cared for the Republic had been asleep, or at any rate had forgotten that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. The "Affaire" awoke them, not at once, but gradually, as the sordid tale unfolded. Then it was seen that the clerical plotters were imperilling the foundations of the Republic. It came to the point when the President could be publicly insulted by a section of the French people. It was certain that the air was thick with plots, that the opposition in the French Chamber would really have liked to overthrow the Republic and re-establish monarchy, that the work of the Revolution was not secure, but was in constant danger from the secret machinations of the priests. Clericalism in fact was seen to be the great enemy.
The common danger united advanced Republicans and caused them to seek an alliance with the Radical-Socialists, and with the Socialists of whom Jaurès was the leader. Millerand, one of the Socialists, was offered a post in the coalition cabinet under Waldeck-Rousseau, and he took office as Minister of Commerce and Industry in 1899. In the preface to the English edition of Jaurès' Studies in Socialism, we are told that Millerand succeeded in getting a law passed which limited the working day in factories, when men, women, and children are all employed, to ten hours, and in his own department he instituted an eight-hours day. He established certain good minimum conditions for all labour on contracts for national public works. He encouraged organized labour and created labour councils, the members of which were elected by the workers and by the masters. These councils form permanent boards of arbitration, which may be consulted in any dispute with a private employer, and must be consulted by the State as employer. They fix the standard rate of wages and hours for every district. Millerand made other efforts for the workers, but he sometimes voted against his own party, and as a member of the Government he had to take part in the reception of the Tzar.
With some of the Socialists supporting a Minister in the Government and many others opposed to a working agreement of any kind with other parties, the unity of the Socialist party in France could not be maintained. The absorption of members in matters outside the actual Socialist sphere, such as the Dreyfus case, had been considered a doubtful benefit. But over this, the Socialists, with Guesde amongst them, had hesitated—Guesde even spoke of the action of Zola in publishing J'Accuse as "the greatest revolutionary act of the century." Later on, however, they called a halt, and Socialists on both sides, Guesdists and the moderate men like Millerand, begged Jaurès to stop just when his renewed and passionate efforts were instrumental in bringing to light the forgery to which Colonel Henry confessed, and so finally in assuring a successful end to the campaign.
As Jaurès saw and declared, it was one of the results of these efforts that Millerand was asked to enter the Ministry.
Guesde replied that it was true. This collaboration had certainly arisen out of Jaurès' collaboration over the Dreyfus case, as Jaurès had boasted, but this only showed how wrong he had been to enter into that work. Jaurès thought it a victory that Millerand should have penetrated into the Ministry, but in reality he was nothing but a prisoner, nothing but a hostage, whom Waldeck-Rousseau had taken as a shield behind whom he could hide from the attacks of the workers. What could the solitary Minister do? He is bound to depend on the Ministry in which he finds himself. This was the result of joining with the enemy over a question of justice to an individual.
Guesde examined with a good deal of shrewdness Jaurès' contention that the entrance into the Ministry was the same thing as the entrance of Socialists into the Chamber and on to local bodies. Guesde, who was not against the workers entering into the Chamber, showed that this was a very different thing. The entrance of representatives of the workers into Parliament and into other public bodies meant that the workers had sent them there, but the entrance of one or two Socialists into a Radical Ministry meant nothing of the sort, and did not come from the people at all. It meant in Guesde's eyes a capture, an attempt to silence the Socialists' party by engaging some of their cleverest members in what was really the support of capitalism. One wonders what Guesde thinks about it now, and whether war is for him the great exception.
It was the old and difficult problem of how far the children of light can work with the children of this world, and Jaurès' large and warm nature, the farthest possible removed from pharisaism, made him revolt from all narrowness; while the activity of his mind, his great energy, made him long to enter into the fight, sword in hand, constructing the new world day by day, instead of looking on and criticising.
"I tell you," he said, "that all great revolutions have been made in the world because the new society before opening out fully had penetrated through all the cracks by means of its tiniest rootlets into the old society. Besides," he added, "it is essential for the Social Revolution to have the support of the nation. Great changes are not to-day brought about by minorities, the will of the nation must be converted … we must carry the immense mass of the people with us,"
It was his essentially historical and philosophical way of looking at things that makes it plain that Jaurès was not an opportunist. And if in this policy he was wrong, it was from a disinterested motive that he acted. It was the Socialist cause that he wished to see in power; he was not thinking of his own advancement. For although Jaurès came to be the mainspring of the Republican "Bloc" which was formed in the French Chamber, composed of Radicals, Radical-Socialists, and Socialists, he never took power himself, either during the time the bloc was in existence or afterwards.
The want of unity in the Socialist camp could now no longer be concealed. The dissatisfaction grew, and in 1900, a split occurred at the Conference of Lyons when a large part of the Guesdists broke away. In 1901 the party called the Socialistes Revolutionnaires followed them and these two sections formed "Le Parti Socialiste de France." Another body called "Le Parti Socialiste Français " was formed under the leadership of Jaurès, Briand, Viviani and others.
It was during this time that Jaurès and his friends were joining in the attack on the Romish Church with which the 20th century opened. It has been said that this attack was made and carried forward to a successful issue by a small group of determined men and that there was at no time any widespread demand for it in the country. Yet it is certain that the struggle, liable as it was to excite the deepest emotions and to rouse the bitterest feelings, could not have ended in such a complete defeat for the Church if the general atmosphere had not been sympathetic to its aims.
It is true that the Church, and particularly the Head of the Church, made every possible mistake. The Pope gave his foes all the openings they required, and the loyalty of some French Catholics to him must at times have been strained to breaking point. It had become evident as a result of the revelations that had followed the Dreyfus case that the power of the Catholic orders, and especially that of the Jesuits had been quite extraordinary in the Haute Armée. It was known that another Catholic order, the Assumptionists, had gained great influence by means of their cheap newspapers, in which they did not scruple to attack the Republic with violence. That the enormous power of these orders was a real danger to the democratic Republic became plain as soon as the matter was discussed.
The individualism of the French Revolution, and very likely the necessities of that time, had caused it to object to the existence of all societies and associations of whatever kind, and right up to the end of the nineteenth century no society of more than twenty persons could exist in France without government permission. This permission was not in practice refused to ordinary associations, but very few of the religious orders had been able to obtain authorization. That did not, however, check them. They existed in an unauthorized state, liable in theory to be suppressed at any time, but nevertheless ever growing in membership and in the number of orders. They owned property to the value of £40,000,000, and the catalogue of their possessions filled two White Books of 2000 pages, which were presented to the Chamber in December, 1900.
The Waldeck-Rousseau cabinet passed a bill making all associations quite free except "illicit" associations. The religious congregations, however, were excepted and could not be formed without a special statute in each case, which it was quite plain would not be easily granted,
M. Waldeck-Rousseau took a very moderate line, but he accepted a Socialist amendment which prevented any member of any unauthorized order from teaching in a school.
It was no violent and tyrannical temper that caused men like Jaurès to join in the assault upon the Church. Jaurès was the most tolerant of men, but he knew that here, as France had many times learnt to her cost, tolerance meant playing into the hands of the everlasting foe of liberty. The Church was never content merely to dominate and enslave the minds of its pupils. It was always determined to be a political power as well, and in France it had shown itself the avowed enemy of the Republic. Recent events had made this more than ever clear.
It is certain that the current was setting more and more strongly in France at this time towards democratic, socialistic, and humanitarian ideas. Gustave Hervé was tried in 1901 at Auxerre for writing anti-military literature, but many of his fellow teachers came forward to state their agreement with him and he was acquitted. The trend of public feeling was also shown by the want of enthusiasm in the reception of the Tzar on his visit to France in September, 1901—it contrasted very unfavourably with the welcome he had received in 1896.
A general election was held in May, 1902, and Jaurès was returned to the Chamber. The atmosphere was more than ever favourable to a renewed attack on the Church. Waldeck-Rousseau had resigned, and M. Combes, the new Prime Minister, was a much more ardent enemy of Rome. He speedily set to work to close the schools conducted by members of unauthorized Congregations, and finally succeeded in passing another bill to prevent all members of religious bodies from teaching, whether authorized or unauthorized.
The Vatican meanwhile followed one tactless step with another. President Loubet had been invited to visit the King of Italy, and the Pope objected on the ground that the head of a Catholic power like France ought to visit him and not the King, or should refrain from coming at all. Jaurès obtained the text of this protest, addressed to the powers having relations with the Vatican, and published the document in his journal, L'Humanité, on the 17th of May, 1904. He had founded L'Humanité with Briand and other friends about a month before. This document was very offensive to both France and Italy, and the French ambassador to the Vatican was withdrawn.
Pius X., as if determined not to be conciliatory, took the opportunity to dismiss two French bishops on grounds of immoral conduct. As the two prelates were known to be friends of the Republic, and to have reactionary enemies in their dioceses, their cases aroused sympathy. Moreover, under the Concordat these dismissals could not take place except by the intervention of the French Government. But as upon expostulation the Pope declined to give any satisfaction, the French Chargé d'Affaires was told to leave Rome, the Papal Nuncio being asked to quit Paris.
It was in this way that the Concordat came to an end, and when Parliament met in the autumn it was felt that the separation of Church and State was inevitable. Jaurès was associated with Briand in drawing up a report, and Combes prepared a Bill, although he was not actually in power at the time it was passed. When the Bill for the Separation of Church and State was being brought into the Chamber the Government was generous in providing pensions and allowing the use of buildings. The Bill passed in 1905 and became law in the following year.
There had followed upon the split among the Socialists a period of many quarrels. After a while, however, the Parti Socialiste de France (the Guesdists), feeling the weakness of the position and unwilling that the disunion should continue, resolved at the Congress of Rheims in 1904 that they would carry the matter before the International at the Congress which was to be held in Amsterdam in August of the same year.
The German Social Democrats had been discussing this very matter of participation, in their own Congress at Dresden in the previous year and it was their Dresden resolution which was discussed at Amsterdam.
"I was one of the British representatives on the Commission which discussed the Dresden resolution," says J. R. Macdonald, "before it came up for debate in the full Congress and I saw much of Jaurès at that time. Among the members were Adler of Austria, Vandevelde of Belgium, Bebel of Germany, Ferri of Italy, Branting of Sweden, and every day brought its great duel, for the Commission was sharply divided. I sat next to Jaurès and when the time drew near for him to reply he became as lively as a cricket. He interjected spear-point remarks whilst others were speaking and his whispered comments were like the playful good nature of an accomplished swordsman making fun of a novice. Then he rose himself without a note. The room crowded up. People filled the windows and some were helped to a precarious sitting on a mantelpiece. He singled out Bebel and the Germans for special attack. One moment he laughed at them, the next he belaboured them. He was mischievous and he enjoyed himself. Then he plunged into the great controversies of policy and of Socialist relationships with Governments. He surveyed tactics and their results. History, philosophy, common sense, the achievements and failures of the different national movements were marshalled in his support. He played with opponents, he tickled them under the chin, he reasoned with them, he expostulated with them, he knocked them on the head. The room had become stifling; people crushed hard against each other. A space had to be cleared round him, for he had been bringing his fists down upon the heads of his neighbours. His perspiration literally dripped on the floor. Broad purple streaks spread from his tie to his collar and shirt front, and a handkerchief which he kept in his trouser pocket and rubbed across his face with the happy valour of a school-boy, was sodden. Ejaculations came from the listeners; a woman fell from the mantelpiece; one moment there was great din and hubbub, the next you could hear a pin fall. The day faded, dusk glided into darkness; the lights from outside patched the walls with red glow and dark shadow. Still Jaurès went on. Like a brave and lithe man keeping beasts at bay, alert at every point, goading, soothing, killing, he fought. When it ended and he was beaten on a vote, we awoke as from a spell; we looked at the time and saw it was dark and we became aware that hunger was gnawing within us. But he, irrepressible and inexhaustible, keen and good-humoured, came out into the night with us, still laughing, arguing, explaining, revelling in the finished fight, as mischievous as when he opened his attack on his German assailants hours before."
At the Congress itself Jaurès stood almost alone, for the majority of the French delegates followed Guesde in this matter and not Jaurès, and the German Social Democrats took the same line. This was enough to make an overwhelming vote against Jaurès' policy. He was not, however, dismayed by the host arrayed against him, but attacking the German Social Democrats he accused them of powerlessness. He pointed out that under the undemocratic constitution of the German Empire, even a majority in the Reichstag did not give power into the hands of the Socialists. If a political and democratic revolution had previously taken place in Germany as in France the German Socialists would not have to fight at such a disadvantage. Propaganda, organization, a splendid array of Socialist newspapers, none of these efforts secured such results as might be expected while power remained in the hands of an autocracy. Jaurès laid great stress on this weakness of German Social Democracy. German Socialists could not go forward. "And so," Jaurès told them, "you concealed your powerlessness of action by taking refuge in the implacability of the theoretic formulæ, with which our eminent comrade, Kautsky, will supply you to the point of vital exhaustion." "And then," he added, " the adoption in this International Congress of the Dresden resolution signifies that international Socialism associates itself in all countries, in all its parts, in all its force with the momentary but formidable, with the provisionary but forced inaction of the German democracy."
This was very straight speaking, and more recent events have emphasised the weakness which Jaurès saw in the position of the German Social Democrats.
But all Jaurès' eloquence failed to overcome the natural conservatism of men who had spent years of their lives in spreading abroad Socialism from the Marxian point of view, and who regarded with apprehension the real danger of absorption in the older political parties. There were not many men who felt within them the strength that Jaurès had, not many who were born to lead and had no need to fear the power of others. And so the vote went against him.
When Jaurès found himself beaten by the majority of the Socialists he decided to leave the bloc. This was the less difficult because the special combination of parties which had worked under M. Combes was at this time falling to pieces. The idea of separation from the party was inconceivable to Jaurès, and he had no ambition to take advantage of his own talents and the position he had gained so as to be taken into future governments on his own merits. He was far too great, too sincere a man. As one of the "Socialistes Militants" he desired to represent the demands of the Socialist party to the world. He knew that the members of the Socialist party were not all equally capable of expressing themselves. He knew that he had this power of expression in the supreme degree. He wished to identify himself with the Socialist party, and as regards tactics he was willing to give way to the majority for the sake of unity. For unity was in Jaurès' case no mere word, it was the greatest need of his nature, and he was willing to make great sacrifices to attain it.
But why then, it may be asked, if union with the workers in their struggle towards Socialism was really more precious to Jaurès than anything else, did he feel it worth while to spend so much time himself on this agitation against the Church, and why did he encourage other Socialists to do so? Could not the overthrow of clerical influence in the French State and more particularly in the schools have been left to Radicals like Waldeck-Rousseau and Combes, while Socialists concentrated their efforts on economic change?
The answer to this lies in the unique quality of Jaurès' mind, which combined a wide outlook with an intensity of conviction in one direction. The intensity of his conviction made him always an ardent Socialist, and for Socialist unity he abandoned the policy of the bloc system. But his unique breadth of vision made him keenly aware of those powerful enemies of Socialism which must be cleared out of its way before one could hope for any real triumph for Socialistic ideas. He saw that one of the strongest of these enemies was the Church of Rome, which stood right across the path of progress. The Church was all the more powerful a foe in that, unlike Militarism, the other great enemy of the people with which Jaurès energetically strove, it was in underground and secret ways that its influence was the most blighting to the hopes of Social Democratic advance. Jaurès had long seen this, and he welcomed the fact that the Republicans of France were so largely implicit enemies of the Church without always seeing why, or how far their enmity would lead them.
Jaurès had realised for many years that one of the worst evils against which progress had to contend was that deadening and deadly influence of the Church by which she used all her great spiritual power over what is deepest in man to keep things as they are, not to allow men to think, to revolt, to throw off their chains. The Church was on the side of the established order, the Church kept the poor in their position of servitude, not merely by brute force as do the more tyrannical State powers, but by a mingled menace and soothing which deprived the people even of the desire to struggle. In a speech which he made in the Chamber as long ago as 1893, he remarked, speaking of the free and unsectarian education which the Republicans supported: "Ah, well, you have interrupted the old song which rocked to sleep human misery," … and then, turning on those Republicans who appeared to him so illogical since they wished to go no further than to stir up the minds of the people by means of education, he added: "And suffering Humanity … has risen up before you and she asks to-day for her place, her large place, in the sun of the natural world.… It is you who have raised the revolutionary temperature of the proletariat; and if you are horrified to-day, you are horrified at your own work."
To Jaurès the whole forward movement was one. He never seems to have felt any antagonism between spiritual and material things. There was no side of human nature which seemed to him uninteresting or valueless. But deepest of all was respect for the human personality and for the spirit which manifests itself in each.
Whatever showed that men were thinking and Striving interested Jaurès. When differences arose between some of the Socialists and the Syndicalists of the Confédération Générale du Travail (the French Trades Unions), Jaurès showed the same sympathetic breadth of view towards the new ideas which were moving in the minds of many workmen. At the Congress of Lyons, February 20, 1912, he urged some of the Socialists, who had severely criticised the Syndicalists, not to treat them as the middle-classes were doing. "For a generation," he said, "the middle-classes believed that to frighten the country it was only necessary to denounce Socialism.… Now it is 'Sabotage' everywhere; not a single one of those violent acts, which cannot help arising when the proletariat suffers and rebels, can be done but what they are tragically labelled with the word 'Sabotage.'… Once more, comrades, I am in agreement with you in wishing to make an immense effort to discipline these movements, to substitute for the brutal inspirations of violence the power of organization.… But no pharisaism; we shall never get rid of all temptation to violence in the heart and brain of workmen in a time of strife.… When in spite of all that can be done violence breaks out, when the heart of these men is embittered and rises up, do not let us turn against them our indignation and anger, but against the masters who have brought them there.… Take care: so that this movement should continue and should come to something it is necessary that Syndicalism should have confidence in us, confidence in itself.… The true way to keep it from demagogy, from systematic and superficial violence, is to open out before it, before its normal and organized action, possibilities of progress, large and vast hopes."
And again: "It is a great strength that in our Trades Unions themselves this hope and this idealism circulates." And he urges all Socialists to encourage this ferment that is going on, to help to organize and calm it, but not to work for its suppression.
And this sympathy towards Syndicalism is all the more interesting that Jaurès' own bias was towards such an orderly method of progress. But he hated "barren and sterile formulæ," and not only, as most men do, the barren and sterile formulæ of those with whom they disagree. He hated to fall into them himself, and he was ready to work with everyone who was sincere, and above all to sympathise and encourage every movement that sprang from the people. Speaking of Jaurès' general relationship with the workers, especially with the organized workers of France, Léon Jouhaux, the Secretary of the Confédération Générale du Travail, said at his grave: "… Your memory, your image will be present at every instant in these tragic moments to lead us in the blood-stained night that opens in front of us. Before this grave where lies, cold, insensible henceforth our greatest, it is our duty to declare loudly that between him and us, the working class, there was never a barrier. People believed that we were Jaurès' opponents. Oh, how mistaken they were. It is true that between him and us there was some divergence of tactics. But this divergence was only so to speak on the surface. His action and ours completed one another. His intellectual action brought about our physical action.… It was with him that we were always in communion. Jaures was our thought, our living doctrine, it is from his image, his memory that we shall draw our force in the future. Impassioned for the fight which raises humanity and makes it better, he never had any doubts. He rendered to the working class this immense homage that he believed in its mission of regeneration.… He lived in the struggle of the working class, he shared its hopes. Never any hard words about the proletariat. He surrounded his advice, his counsel with the best of himself.…"
- Rappoport, p. 203.
- Rappoport, p. 205
- Studies in Socialism. Trans. by M. Minturn.
- Studies in Socialism. Trans. by M. Minturn.
- Studies in Socialism. Trans, by M. Minturn.
- Rappoport, p. 368
- Contemporary Review, September, 1914
- Speech of Jaurès in the Chamber of Deputies, Dec. 21, 1893
- Jaurès' speech at the Socialist Congress of Lyons, February 20, 1912.