Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/199

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149
The Question of Method

Thus, in a hundred and twenty years, the method of working-class revolution which Babeuf was the first to apply, which was given a formula by Marx and Blanqui, and which consisted in introducing the ideas of proletarian Communism under the cover of bourgeois revolutions, has been tried or proposed many times and under many forms. By this method the working class at several great historical crises has become conscious of its power and its destiny. By it, the proletariat has had an opportunity to test itself in a position of partial power. By it, the problem of property and Communism has been kept uninterruptedly before the public as a question of the day in practical European politics, according to the advice of the Manifesto: "In all these movements, the question that the Communists bring to the front as the essential point is that of property, even if the discussion of this question has not been fully developed at the time."

By following this policy, finally, the proletariat has taken an active part in affairs long before it had power enough to control them. But it was chimerical to hope that a proletarian Communism could be grafted on to the bourgeois revolution. It was chimerical to think that the revolutionary agitation of the bourgeoisie would give the proletariat the opportunity of making a permanently successful counter-stroke. As a matter of fact, these tactics have never had the desired issue. Sometimes the revolutionary bourgeoisie has