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The Militant Proletariat



The Socialist movement has based itself upon the proletariat. That fact is undeniable. From the time of the Marxian statement in the Communist Manifesto, there could no longer be any doubt that henceforward the Socialist movement relied upon the proletarian class alone, as the stimulating factor in the social revolution. This was not always the case, for the early Socialists, who had proclaimed their utopian ideas prior to the publication of the Communist Manifesto, had calculated upon something quite other than proletarianism for their victory over the oppression and misery with which they saw themselves surrounded, and which it was their benevolent and philanthropic mission to destroy. The early Socialists had sought to impress their ideas upon the more fortunate, and, by a sort of religion and experimental society building, to purge the world of the evils which possessed it and prepare for a paradisiacal condition of equality and well-being. Against these concepts the pioneers of the modern Socialist movement were compelled to struggle at the very inception, and thus


was written the Cantniunist Manifesto, the first proclamation of the fundamental principles now underlying the world-wide Socialist movement, which asks the question, "In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a whole ?” and replies, “The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working class parties. They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement." In other words, the Communists, who are the modern Socialists, the term Communist having been used merely to differentiate them from the utopians who had brought the term Socialist into disrepute, do not consider themselves as apart from the proletariat but as constituting part of the proletarian army, differentiating themselves from the ordinary proletarian only by their knowledge of the direction and end of the march. Thus the Manifesto declares, “The Communists are therefore, on the one hand, practically the most advanced and resolute section of the working class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.”

There is no question, therefore, that the Socialist movement from its early stages has regarded the proletariat as the means of revolution, as the chief agent in accomplishing the over

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