INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST PUBLICATION
The reflections that I submit to the readers of the Mouvément Socialisté on the subject of violence have been inspired by some simple observations about very evident facts, which play an increasingly marked role in the history of contemporary classes.
For a long time I had been struck by the fact that the normal development of strikes is accompanied by an important series of acts of violence; but certain learned sociologists seek to disguise a phenomenon that every one who cares to use his eyes must have noticed. Revolutionary syndicalism keeps alive in the minds of the masses the desire to strike, and only prospers when important strikes, accompanied by violence, take place. Socialism tends to appear more and more as a theory of revolutionary syndicalism—or rather as a philosophy of modem history, in as far as it is under the influence of this syndicalism. It follows from these incontestable data, that if we desire to discuss Socialism with any benefit, we must first of all investigate the functions of violence in actual social conditions.
- These Reflections were first published in the Mouvement Socialiste (first six months, 1906).
- Cf. "Les Grèves" in the Science sociale, October-November 1900.
- In the Insegnamenti sociali della economia contemporanea (written in 1903, but not published till 1906) I had already, but in a very inadequate manner, pointed out what seemed to me to be the function of violence, in maintaining the division between the proletariat and the middle classes (pp. 53–55).