Joffrin broke away (in 1881) from the main body and stood out
for municipal socialism, decentralization and, later (1887),
self-governing workshops aided by public money. Co-operative
workshops are already subsidized in France from the public
funds, and favoured by preferences in public works and other
privileges, without striking results. The Broussistes are also
called Possibilistes, as content with such socialism as is
immediately practicable. They supported, for example, agrarian
reform on the present basis of private property (Marseilles, 1892).
After several unsuccessful negotiations, the amalgamation of
the Collectivists, Possibilists and Blanquistes (extreme
) was accomplished in 1899. But the body had not the
cohesion of the German party. Though the socialists in the
Chamber acted more or less loyally together, they were not
closely controlled by the organization outside. In consequence
(like Mr John Burns in England in 1905-1906) those who accepted
office usually came under a cloud. This happened to M. Millerand
when he became minister of commerce in the Waldeck Rousseau
government of 1899, and in a less degree to M. Jaurès when he
became vice-president of the Chamber. M. Millerand was,
indeed, expelled from the party, and at the socialist congress of
Amsterdam (August 1904) a strongly worded resolution
condemned any participation by socialists in bourgeois (middle-class)
government. The vote was not unanimous, and the
resolution itself was attributed to the German Bebel. An attempt
was made in Paris (April 1905) to bind the various parties of
French socialists more closely together by forming a new “Socialist
party, the French Section of the International Labour Union.”
It laid down stringent rules for the guidance of socialist deputies.
In comparison with the steady united action of the Germans,
the proceedings of the French socialists, perhaps from their
greater political liberty, seems a wayward guerilla warfare. The
French state is not on principle averse from intervention. It has
been always more ready than in England to interfere with
competitive trade and to take the initiative on itself. It controls
the Bank of France, owns most of the railways, and directs
secondary as well as primary education. After the disputes at
Carmaux (in 1892) it proposed to take over the mines. There
is no general poor law; but old-age pensions have been voted,
and workmen's compensation is as old as 1888. State socialism
might have gone farther if French bureaucracy had not proved
less efficient than German.
Though there are socialistic French professors there can hardly be said to be a body of academic socialists in France. The strongest economic writing is still that of the orthodox economists, P. E. Levasseur, P. P. Leroy-Beaulieu, Yves Guyot. Even Professor Charles Gide, though reformer, is not socialist. Of the two party periodicals La Revue socialiste is moderate, Le Mouvement socialiste hardly so. The latter is in many ways more akin to anarchism than state socialism. Socialism has its allies in the sporadic Christian socialism of the Churches, both Catholic and Protestant, and in the solidarists who would transform the existing system of employment without abolishing private property. The school of Le Play, though devoted to social reform, can hardly be called an ally of socialism.
Netherlands.—Socialism has found a kindlier soil in Belgium and Holland, and these countries have been the favourite meeting-place in recent years of congresses of all denominations of socialists. In Belgium the Flemish social democratic party led by de Paepe united in 1879 with the Brabantine or Walloon. They organized trade unions. They helped the liberals in 1893 to procure the extension of the suffrage. In 1907 they had thirty representatives in parliament. The flourishing co-operative societies, Vooruit (Forwards) in Ghent and Maison du people of the Brussels bakers, were the work of their members. Its success in co-operation is almost the distinctive feature of Belgian socialism. Socialists helped to procure the adoption by Belgium of a system of old-age pensions for the poor in 1900, and of the cheap trains which do so much for the workmen in town and country. In Holland, which is not a crowded manufacturing country but even now largely agricultural and pastoral, the socialists are less formidable, if that be the right word. They came into line with the German socialists in 1889. Social reform proceeds with or without their aid. There has been a factory act since 1889 and an act for workmen's insurance against accidents since 1900. Municipal socialism has made progress. The great railway strike of 1903 aroused public interest in the condition of the workman, but the legislation that followed was rather regulative than socialistic.
Switzerland.—Switzerland, for generations a refuge to exiles, shows them hospitality without sharing their views. There is little legislation of a socialistic nature; socialists are to be found here and there, especially in the German cantons.
Scandinavia.—Scandinavia stands less apart from European movements than formerly, but industrial legislation is rather regulative than socialistic. Hjalmar Branting, one of the most prominent socialists, was in 1908 a member of the Swedish parliament. The trade unions of Denmark are largely socialistic, but Denmark is no nearer complete conversion than England.
Italy, Spain.—Socialism might be thought to find a better soil in Italy and Spain. Italy has been described as “all proletariat.” But a great depth of poverty fits a people rather for the anarchism of violence than for socialism. The social democrats have made way, notwithstanding, and in 1895 returned fifteen members to parliament. Milan is still the capital of the movement. Laveleye had the idea that revolution was hopeless in Italy because Rome was uninhabitable every summer. But social democracy in Germany, its own country, is not bound up with Berlin. Italy as a whole must make progress in social and political development before it can receive the new ideas and still more before it can grow beyond them. The burden of taxes leads to revolts of sheer despair, followed by repression which has extended to socialistic clubs (fasci dei lavoratori) and even workmen's unions. State socialism in the form of state railways has not been very efficient. Factory legislation is behind that of other civilized countries, and is of very recent origin (1902). Old-age pensions were introduced in 1898, and accidents insurance on the German model in the same year. Municipal socialism, finding some trammels removed, had in the first decade of the 2oth century begun to show itself in the large towns. In Spain there is a Socialist Federation; there are socialist newspapers; and there seems to be no doubt that the cause has gained ground, even as against anarchism. It may perhaps yet be a power in the legislature. It is mainly in Russia that anarchism has the field to itself.
Russia.—In spite of the hopes excited by the Duma, reformers in Russia have been strongly tempted to be anarchists, even of a violent type. Democracy had special difficulties in reaching legislative power. Partly for this reason, “social democracy” has had a subordinate place. The Russian socialists have, some of them, rebelled against the view once essential to socialistic orthodoxy: that Russia must pass through the stage of “capitalism” before reaching the stage of “collectivism.” Marx himself (in 1877) conceded that the progress might be direct from the system of village communities to the ideal of social democracy. Capitalism is already extending itself, and the consistency of the theory need not have been broken. Even so, in the absence of democratic government, the prospects of socialism are doubtful. In Finland there were in 1908 eighty socialist members in a parliament of two hundred. The party might console itself by the thought that over the whole Russian empire many more were socialists than could declare themselves so.
Australia.—In contrast to nearly all the countries of “Old Europe,” the self-governing colonies of Greater Britain stand out as nothing if not democratic. Nowhere is democracy sturdier than in Australia, the separate states of which have since 1900 been federated as one commonwealth. But while it has a protective tariff and makes no pretence of a laissez-faire policy, the central government is less socialistic than the separate confederated states. The progress even of these has been, as in England, rather in municipal than in state socialism. It is true that crown lands, mines and railways figure more largely. But to find state socialism in its vigour we must pass to New Zealand.