Jules Guesde 1907
Source: Social Democrat, Vol. 11 no. 12, Dec 1907, pp. 737-738.
The word “bourgeois” or “bourgeoisie” should be substituted for the term “middle-class” or “middle classes” in this appeal in order for it to make sense to present day readers. – Note by transcriber.
The name of this newspaper is a programme, all our programme.
Here we shall write on Socialism, and nothing but Socialism.
That is to say, that we shall always bear in mind the essential conditions of the emancipation of the worker, we shall concentrate all the efforts of the ranks on the class war, and shall aim at :-
1. The capturing of political power.
2. The seizing of capitalist property to restore it to the national collectivity.
All that under one pretext or another tends to turn away the proletariat from that supreme end, or to weaken its action, will be assailed by us because it tends to prolong, consciously or unconsciously, the present social order or disorder – the parent of all slavery and all misery.
There is no room in this direct attack on the State and on capital – or more precisely on capital by the State – there is no room for any collaboration or co-operation of any kind with the class which holds both, and of which they must be dispossessed, both politically and economically. However democratic and republican they may be, there can be no bond of union between the middle-class who hold the Government, and we, who wish to overthrow them, there can be nothing in common but the battlefield and the struggle, no alliance, for between the two armies who are going to fight, any agreement must be the result of treachery.
There is no room either for the Anarchist illusion or policy, which disarms the working class and divides it by counselling an abstention from political action, as this only helps the new holders of capital, whose privileges will remain intact until political power has been taken from them.
A Socialist newspaper must be anti-Anarchist as well as anti-Ministerial, and can only be revolutionary.
We are, and must be, revolutionary, like all classes have been in their time, just as the middle class was in 1789, when standing up for its interests against feudalism it had to employ force to bring abut a new order.
That does not mean that before pulling down the inimical legality Socialists cannot and should not make use of it, and even reform it by adapting it as much as possible to their needs of propaganda, of education, and of recruiting.
On the contrary, we are, and must be, in favour of reforms, and for as many as we can compel the middle-class State to grant us.
But even on that question there can be no common action with the middle classes, not even with the most advanced, because they look at the question from a diametrically different point of view from us.
These reforms which they promise and for which they hope to obtain the agreement of the proletariat are only a means of lulling the workers to sleep and disarming them by partial gifts. They wish to maintain or re-establish social peace in order that the possessing classes may better enjoy their possessions.
We must not think so much of the petty reforms as of the new arms which are in the hands of the workers for the social war. This war successfully carried out can alone bring about a victory, and with an end of the class system enable us to attain the true social peace, the great and final human peace.
In the campaign of which I have spoken and which we shall carry on without hatred and without anger as being a duty, all the workers massed round the banner of Socialism will know that all the International is with them.
The International has always forbidden Anarchists to take part in its congresses, and at Amsterdam in 1904 warned the workers not to be led away by the propaganda in favour of the General Strike which the Anarchists advocate in order to forget the real and ceaseless struggle; that is to say, the taking part in political movements, in trade unions and in co-operation.
Again, at Amsterdam, the International, after having exhorted the workers to strive for political power against the middle class, refused to become a party to reform middle-class society instead of being a party which was trying to change a middle-class society into a Socialist one, and which is, therefore, revolutionary in the best sense of the word.
Finally, the International, a few months ago at Stuttgart, after having demanded the democratic organisation of the masses for the defence of the Fatherland, which workers have to conquer and to free, stated that for the complete emancipation of Labour, there was need of the joint action of the trade unions and the party.
Thus, being in agreement with the proletariat of the Old and the New World, and acting with them, we address ourselves to our French comrades and appeal to them to “Help us.”