Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/201

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151
The Question of Method

It is methodically preparing, or better, it is methodically beginning its own revolution, by the gradual and legal conquest of the power of production and of the power of the State.

And indeed, if it were to wait for the opportunity of a middle-class revolution in order to strike its coup de force and institute a class dictatorship, it would wait in vain. The revolutionary period of the bourgeoisie is over. It is possible that in order to safeguard its economic interests and under the pressure of the working class, the middle class in Italy, Germany, and Belgium may be induced to extend the constitutional rights of the people, to claim full universal suffrage, real parliamentary government, and fne responsibility of ministers to Parliament. It is possible that the combined action of the democratic middle class and the working class will everywhere curtail the royal prerogative or the imperial autocracy to the point where monarchy has only a nominal existence. It is certain that the struggle for a complete democracy is not over in Europe, but in this struggle the bourgeoisie will have an insignificant part to play, such a part, for example, as it is now playing in Belgium.

Moreover, in all the constitutions of central and western Europe, there are already enough democratic elements for the transition to real democracy to be made without a revolutionary crisis. So that the proletarian revolution cannot, as Marx and Blanqui thought, take shelter behind bour-