Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/170

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120
Studies in Socialism

capitalist system to capitulate. Bourgeois society will set up a resistance proportional to the magnitude of the interests at stake. In other words, to a revolutionary general strike that will require of it the sacrifice of its very existence, it will oppose a resistance up to the limit of its powers.

Now, neither a stoppage of production and transportation, nor even extended violence to property and persons, is enough to bring about the overthrow of a society. No matter how powerful one supposes the effects of a general revolutionary strike to be, they can hardly exceed those of great wars and great invasions. Great wars, too, put a stop to or very much upset production, suspend or hinder traffic, and throw all economic life into a confusion which one might suppose fatal. Notwithstanding all this, societies resist these almost deadly crises, these apparently insuperable evils, with the most extraordinary vitality.

I am not speaking of the Hundred Years' War in France, or the Thirty Years' War in Germany. Then society kept its form in spite of unheard-of trials,—brigandage, sieges, famines, burnings, perpetual fighting and ravaging of whole tracts of country. But in more modern societies, in bourgeois society itself, what prodigious upheavals! Since the last half of 1793 the society that was the creation of the Revolution has suffered and has even inflicted on itself in its own defence injuries that doubtless no gen-