How do matters stand in Socialist society? All develop under equal conditions, and each is active in that to which inclination and skill point him, whence differences in work will be but insignificant. The intellectual and moral atmosphere of society, which stimulates all to excel one another, likewise aids in equalizing such differences. If any person finds that he cannot do as much as others on a certain field, he chooses another that corresponds with his strength and faculties. Whoever has worked with a large number of people in one establishment knows that men who prove themselves unfit and useless in a certain line, do excellent work in another. There is no normally constructed being who fails to meet the highest demands in one line or another, the moment he finds himself in the right place. By what right does any claim precedence over another? If any one has been treated so step-motherly by Nature that with the best will he can not do what others can, Society has no right to punish him for the shortcomings of Nature. If, on the contrary, a person has received from Nature gifts that raise him above others, Society is not obliged to reward what is not his personal desert. In Socialist society all enjoy equal conditions of life and opportunities for education; all are furnished the same opportunities to develop their knowledge and powers according to their respective capacities and inclinations. In this lies a further guarantee that not only will the standard of culture and powers be higher in Socialist than in bourgeois society, but also that both will be more equally distributed and yet be much more manifold.
When, on a journey up the Rhine, Goethe studied the Cathedral of Cologne, he discovered in the archives that the old master-builders paid their workmen equal wages for equal time. They did so because they wished to get good and conscientious work. This looks like an anomaly to modern bourgeois society. It introduced the system of piece-work, that drives the workingmen to out-work one another, and thus aids the employer in underpaying and in reducing wages.
As with manual, so with mental work. Man is the product of the time and circumstances that he lives in. A Goethe, born under equally favorable conditions in the fourth, instead of the eighteenth, century might have become, instead of a distinguished poet and naturalist, a great Father of the Church, who might have thrown St. Augustine into the shade. If, on the other hand, instead of being the son of a rich Frankfort patrician, Goethe had been born the son of a poor shoemaker of the same town, he never would have become the Minister of the Grand Duke of Weimar, but would probably have remained a shoemaker, and died an honorable member of the craft. Goethe himself recognized the advantage he had in being born in a materially and socially favorable station in order to reach his stage of development. It so appears in his "Wilhelm Meister." Were Napoleon I. born ten years later, he never would have been Emperor of France. Without the war of 1870-1871, Gambetta had never become what he did become. Place the naturally gifted child of intelligent parents among savages, and he becomes a savage. Whatever a man is, society has made him. Ideas are not creations that spring from the head of the individual out of nothing, or through inspiration from above; they are products of social life, of the Spirit of the Age, raised in the head of the individual. An Aristotle could not possibly have the ideas of a Darwin, and a Darwin could not choose but think otherwise than an Aristotle. Man thinks according as the Spirit of the Age, i. e., his surroundings and the phenomena that they present to him drive him to think. Hence the experience of different people often thinking simultaneously the same thing, of the same inventions and discoveries being made simultaneously in places far apart from each other. Hence also the fact that an idea, uttered fifty years too early, leaves the world cold; fifty years later, sets it ablaze. Emperor Sigismund could risk breaking his word to Huss in 1415 and order him burned in Constance; Charles V., although a more violent fanatic, was compelled to allow Luther to depart in peace from the Reichstag at Worms in 1521. Ideas are, accordingly, the product of combined social causes and social life. What is true of society in general, is true in particular of the several classes that, at given historic epochs, constitute society. As each class has its special interests, it also has its special ideas and views, that lead to those class struggles of which recorded history is full, and that reach their climax in the class antagonisms and class struggles of modern days. Hence, it depends not merely upon the age in which a man lives, but also upon the social stratum of a certain age in which he lived or lives, and whereby his feelings, thoughts and actions are determined.
Without modern society, no modern ideas. That is obvious. With regard to the future social Order, it must be furthermore added that the means whereby the individual develops are the property of society. Society can, accordingly, not be bound to render special homage to what itself made possible and is its own product.
So much on the qualification of manual and brain work. It follows that there can be no real distinction between "higher" and "lower" manual work, such as not infrequently a mechanic to-day affects towards the day-laborer, who performs work on the street, or the like. Society demands only socially necessary work; hence all work is of equal value to society. If work that is disagreeable and repulsive can not be performed mechanically or chemically and by some process converted into work that is agreeable—a prospect that may not be put in doubt, seeing the progress made on the fields of technique and chemistry—and if the necessary volunteer forces can not be raised, then the obligation lies upon each, as soon as is his turn, to do his part. False ideas of shame, absurd contempt for useful work, become obsolete conceptions. These exist only in our society of drones, where to do nothing is regarded as an enviable lot, and the worker is despised in proportion to the hardness and disagreeableness of his work, and in proportion to its social usefulness. To-day work is badly paid in proportion as it is disagreeable. The reason is that, due to the constant revolutionizing of the process of production, a permanent mass of superfluous labor lies on the street, and, in order to live, sells itself for such vile work, and at such prices that the introduction of machinery in these departments of labor does not "pay." Stone-breaking, for instance, is proverbially one of the worst paid and most disagreeable kinds of work. It were a trifling matter to have the stone-breaking done by machinery, as in the United States; but we have such a mass of cheap labor-power that the machine would not "pay." Street and sewer cleaning, the carting away of refuse, underground work of all sorts, etc., could, with the aid of machinery and technical contrivances, even at our present state of development, be all done in such manner that no longer would any trace of disagreeableness attach to the work. Carefully considered, the workingman who cleans out a sewer and thereby protects people from miasmas, is a very useful member of society; whereas a professor who teaches falsified history in the interest of the ruling classes, or a theologian who seeks to befog the mind with supernatural and transcendental doctrines are highly injurious beings.
The learned fraternity of to-day, clad in offices and dignities, to a large extent represents a guild intended and paid to defend and justify the rule of the leading classes with the authority of science; to make them appear good and necessary; and to prop up existing superstitions. In point of fact this guild is largely engaged in the trade of quackery and brain-poisoning—a work injurious to civilization, intellectual wage-labor in the interest of the capitalist class and its clients. A social condition, that should make impossible the existence of such elements, would perform an act towards the liberation of humanity.
Genuine science, on the other hand, is often connected with highly disagreeable and repulsive work, such, for instance, as when a physician examines a corpse in a state of decomposition, or operates on supurating wounds, or when a chemist makes experiments. These often are labors more repulsive than the most repulsive ones ever performed by day-laborers and untutored workingmen. Few recognize the fact. The difference lies in that the one requires extensive studies in order to perform it, whereas the other can be performed by anyone without preparatory studies. Hence the radical difference in the estimation of the two. But in a society where, in virtue of the amplest opportunities of education afforded to all, the present distinction between "cultured" and "uncultured" ceases to exist, the contrast is likewise bound to vanish between learned and unlearned work, all the more seeing that technical development knows no limits and manual labor may be likewise performed by machinery or technical contrivances. We need but look at the development of our art handicrafts—xylography and copper-etching, for instance. As it turns out that the most disagreeable kinds of work often are the most useful, so also is our conception regarding agreeable and disagreeable work, like so many other modern conceptions, utterly superficial; it is a conception that has an eye to externals only.
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The moment production is carried on in Socialist society upon the lines traced above, it no longer produces "merchandise," but only articles of use for the direct demand of society. Commerce, accordingly, ceases, having its sense and reason for being only in a social system that rests upon the production of goods for sale. A large army of persons of both sexes is thus set free for productive work. This large army, set free for production, not only increases the volume of wealth produced, but makes possible a reduction of the hours of work. These people are to-day more or less parasites: they are supported by the work of others: in many instances they must toil diligently in return for a meagre existence. In Socialist society they are superfluous as merchants, hosts, brokers and agents. In lieu of the dozens, hundreds and thousands of stores and commercial establishments of all sorts, that to-day every community holds in proportion to its size, large municipal stores step in, elegant bazaars, actual exhibitions, requiring a relatively small administrative personnel. This change in itself represents a revolution in all previous institutions. The tangled mass of modern commerce is transformed into a centralized and purely administrative department, with only the simplest of functions, that can not choose but grow still simpler through the progressive centralization of all social institutions. Likewise does the whole system of transportation and communication undergo a complete change.
The telegraph, railroads, Post Office, river and ocean vessels, street railways—whatever the names of the vehicles and institutions may be that attend to the transportation and communication of capitalist society—now become social property. Many of these institutions—Post Offices, telegraph and railroads generally—are now State institutions in Germany. Their transformation into social property presents no difficulties: there no private interests are left to hurt: if the State continues to develop in that direction, all the better. But these institutions, administered by the State, are no Socialist institutions, as they are mistakenly taken for. They are business plants, that are exploited as capitalistically as if they were in private hands. Neither the officers nor the workingmen have any special benefit from them. The State treats them just as any private capitalist. When, for instance, orders were issued not to engage any workingman over 40 years of age in the railway or marine service of the Empire, the measure carries on its brows the class stamp of the State of the exploiters, and is bound to raise the indignation of the working class. Such and similar measures that proceed from the State as an employer of labor are even worse than if they proceed from private employers. As against the State, the latter is but a small employer, and the occupation that this one denies another might grant. The State, on the contrary, being a monopolistic employer, can, at one stroke, cast thousands of people into misery with its regulations. That is not Socialist, it is capitalist conduct; and the Socialist guards against allowing the present State ownership being regarded as Socialism, or the realization of Socialist aspirations. In a Socialist institution there are no employers. The leader, chosen for the purpose, can only carry out the orders and superintend the execution of the disciplinary and other measures prescribed by the collectivity itself.
As in the instance of the millions of private producers, dealers and middlemen of all sorts, large centralized establishments take their place, so does the whole system of transportation and communication assume new shape. The myriads of small shipments to as many consignees that consume a mass of powers and of time, now grow into large shipments to the municipal depots and the central places of production. Here also labor is simplified. The transportation of raw material to an establishment of a thousand workers is an infinitely simpler matter than to a thousand small and scattered establishments. Thus centralized localities of production and of transportation for whole communities, or divisions of the same, will introduce a great saving of time, of labor, of material, and of means both of production and distribution. The benefit accrues to the whole community, and to each individual therein. The physiognomy of our productive establishments, of our system of transportation and communication, especially also of our habitations, will be completely altered for the better. The nerve-racking noise, crowding and rushing of our large cities with their thousands of vehicles of all sorts ceases substantially: society assumes an aspect of greater repose. The opening of streets and their cleaning, the whole system of life and of intercourse acquires new character. Hygienic measures—possible to-day only at great cost and then only partially, not infrequently only in the quarters of the rich—can be introduced with ease everywhere. To-day "the common people" do not need them; they can wait till the funds are ready; and these never are.
Such a system of communication and transportation can not then choose but reach a high grade of perfection. Who knows but aerial navigation may then become a chief means of travel. The lines of transportation and communication are the arteries that carry the exchange of products—circulation of the blood—throughout the whole body social, that effect personal and mental intercourse between man and man. They are, consequently, highly calculated to establish an equal level of well-being and culture throughout society. The extension and ramification of the most perfect means of transportation and communication into the remotest corners of the land is, accordingly, a necessity and a matter of general social interest. On this field there arise before the new social system tasks that go far beyond any that modern society can put to itself. Finally, such a perfected system of transportation and communication, will promote the decentralization of the mass of humanity that is to-day heaped up in the large cities. It will distribute the same over the country, and thus—in point of sanitation as well as of mental and material progress—it will assume a significance of inestimable value.
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Among the means of production in industry and transportation, land holds a leading place, being the source of all human effort and the foundation of all human existence, hence, of Society itself. Society resumes at its advanced stage of civilization, what it originally possessed. Among all races on earth that reached a certain minimum degree of culture, we find community in land, and the system continues in force with such people wherever they are still in existence. Community in land constituted the foundation of all primitive association: the latter was impossible without the former. Not until the rise and development of private property and of the forms of rulership therewith connected, and then only under a running struggle, that extends deep into our own times, was the system of common ownership in land ended, and the land usurped as private property. The robbery of the land and its transformation into private property furnished, as we have seen, the first source of that bondage that, extending from chattel slavery to the "freedom" of the wage-earner of our own century, has run through all imaginable stages, until finally the enslaved, after a development of thousands of years re-convert the land into common property.
The importance of land to human existence is such that in all social struggles the world has ever known—whether in India, China, Egypt, Greece (Cleomenes), Rome (the Gracchi), Christian Middle Ages (religious sects, Munzer, the Peasants War), in the empires of the Aztecs and of the Incas, or in the several upheavals of latter days—the possession of land is the principal aim of the combatants. And even to-day, the public ownership of land finds its justifiers in such men as Adolf Samter, Adolf Wagner, Dr. Schaeffle, who on other domains of the Social Question are ready to rest content with half-measures.
The well-being of the population depends first of all upon the proper cultivation of the land. To raise the same to the highest degree of perfection is eminently a matter of public concern. That the cultivation of the land can reach the necessary high degree of perfection neither under the large, nor the middle, least of all under the small landlord system, has been previously shown. The most profitable cultivation of land depends not merely upon the special care bestowed upon it. Elements come here into consideration that neither the largest private holder, nor the mightiest association of these is equal to cope with. These are elements that lap over, even beyond the reach of the State and require international treatment.
Society must first of all consider the land as a whole—its topographical qualities, its mountains, plains, woods, lakes, rivers, ponds, heaths, swamps, moors, etc. The topography, together with the geographical location of land, both of which are unchangeable, exercises certain influences upon climate and the qualities of the soil. Here is an immense field on which a mass of experience is to be gathered and a mass of experiments to be made. What the State has done until now in this line is meager. What with the small means that it applies to these purposes, and what with the limitations imposed upon it by the large landlords, who even if the State were willing, would check it, little or nothing has been done. The State could do nothing on this field without greatly encroaching upon private property. Seeing, however, that its very existence is conditioned upon the safe-keeping and "sacredness" of private property, the large landlords are vital to it, and it is stripped of the power, even if it otherwise had the will, to move in that direction. Socialist society will have the task of undertaking vast improvements of the soil,—raising woods here, and dismantling others yonder, draining and irrigating, mixing and changing of soil, planting, etc., in order to raise the land to the highest point of productivity that it is capable of.
An important question, connected with the improvement of the land, is the contrivance of an ample and systematically planned network of rivers and canals, conducted upon scientific principles. The question of "cheaper" transportation on the waterways—a question of such gravity to modern society—loses all importance in Socialist society, seeing that the conceptions "cheap" and "dear" are unknown to it. On the other hand, however, waterways, as comfortable means of transportation, that can, moreover, be utilized with but slight expenditure of strength and matter, deserve attention. Moreover river and canal systems play important roles in the matter of climate, draining and irrigation, and the supply of fertilizers and other materials needed in the improvement of agricultural land.
Experience teaches that poorly-watered regions suffer more severely from cold winters and hot summers than well-watered lands, whence coast regions are exempt from the extremes of temperature, or rarely undergo them. Extremes of temperature are favorable neither to plants nor man. An extensive system of canalization, in connection with the proper forestry regulations, would unquestionably exercise beneficent influences. Such a system of canalization, along with the building of large reservoirs, that will collect the water in cases of freshets through thaws or heavy rainfalls, would be of great usefulness. Freshets and their devastating results would be impossible. Wide expanses of water, together with their proportional evaporations, would also, in all probability, bring about a more regular rain-fall. Finally such institutions would facilitate the erection of works for an extensive system of irrigation whenever needed.
Large tracts of land, until now wholly barren or almost so, could be transformed into fertile regions by means of artificial irrigation. Where now sheep can barely graze, and at best consumptive-looking pine trees raise their thin arms heavenward, rich crops could grow and a dense population find ample nutriment. It is merely a question of labor whether the vast sand tracts of the Mark, the "holy dust-box of the German Empire," shall be turned into an Eden. The fact was pointed out in an address delivered in the spring of 1894 on the occasion of the agricultural exposition in Berlin. The requisite improvements, canals, provisions for irrigation, mixing of soil, etc., are matters, however, that can be undertaken neither by the small nor the large landlords of the Mark. Hence those vast tracts, lying at the very gates of the capital of the Empire, remain in a state of such backward cultivation that it will seem incredible to future generations. Again, a proper canalization would, by draining, reclaim for cultivation vast swamps and marshes in North as well as South Germany. These waterways could be furthermore utilized in raising fish; they could thus be vast sources of food; in neighborhoods where there are no rivers, they would furnish opportunity for commodious bath-houses.
Let a few examples illustrate the effectiveness of irrigation. In the neighborhood of Weissensfels, 7 1/2 hectares of well-watered meadows produced 480 cwt. of after-grass; 5 contiguous hectares of meadow land of the same quality, but not watered, yielded only 32 cwt. The former had, accordingly, a crop ten times as large as the latter. Near Reisa in Saxony, the irrigation of 65 acres of meadow lands raised their revenue from 5,850 marks to 11,100 marks. The expensive outlays paid. Besides the Mark there are in Germany other vast tracts, whose soil, consisting mainly of sand, yields but poor returns, even when the summer is wet. Crossed and irrigated by canals, and their soil improved, these lands would within a short time yield five and ten times as much. There are examples in Spain of the yield of well-irrigated lands exceeding thirty-seven fold that of others that are not irrigated. Let there but be water, and increased volumes of food are conjured into existence.
Where are the private individuals, where the States, able to operate upon the requisite scale? When, after long decades of bitter experience, the State finally yields to the stormy demands of a population that has suffered from all manner of calamities, and only after millions of values have been destroyed, how slow, with what circumspection, how cautious does it proceed! It is so easy to do too much, and the State might by its precipitancy lose the means with which to build some new barracks for the accommodation of a few regiments. Then also, if one is helped "too much," others come along, and also want help. "Man, help yourself and God will help you," thus runs the bourgeois creed. Each for himself, none for all. And thus, hardly a year goes by without once, twice and oftener more or less serious freshets from brooks, rivers or streams occurring in several provinces and States: vast tracts of fertile lands are then devastated by the violence of the floods, and others are covered with sand, stone and all manner of debris; whole orchard plantations, that demanded tens of years for their growth, are uprooted; houses, bridges, dams are washed away; railroad tracks torn up; cattle, not infrequently human beings also, are drowned; soil improvements are carried off; crops ruined. Vast tracts, exposed to frequent inundations, are cultivated but slightly, lest the loss be double.
On the other hand, unskilful corrections of the channels of large rivers and streams,—undertaken in one-sided interests, to which the State ever yields readily in the service of "trade and transportation"—increase the dangers of freshets. Extensive cutting down of forests, especially on highlands and for private profit, adds more grist to the flood mill. The marked deterioration of the climate and decreased productivity of the soil, noticeable in the provinces of Prussia, Pomerania, the Steuermark, Italy, France, Spain, etc., is imputed to this vandalic devastation of the woods, done in the interest of private parties.
Frequent freshets are the consequence of the dismantling of mountain woodlands. The inundations of the Rhine, the Oder and the Vistula are ascribed mainly to the devastation of the woods in Switzerland, Galicia and Poland; and likewise in Italy with regard to the Po. Due to the baring of the Carnian Alps, the climate of Triest and Venice has materially deteriorated. Madeira, a large part of Spain, vast and once luxurious fields of Asia Minor have in a great measure forfeited their fertility through the same causes.
It goes without saying that Socialist society will not be able to accomplish all these great tasks out-of-hand. But it can and will undertake them, with all possible promptness and with all the powers at its command, seeing that its sole mission is to solve problems of civilization and to tolerate no hindrance. Thus it will in the course of time solve problems and accomplish feats that modern society can give no thought to, and the very thought of which gives it the vertigo.
The cultivation of the soil will, accordingly, be mightily improved in Socialist society, through these and similar measures. But other considerations, looking to the proper exploitation of the soil, are added to these. To-day, many square miles are planted with potatoes, which are to be applied mainly to the distilling of brandy, an article consumed almost exclusively by the poor classes of the population. Liquor is the only stimulant and "care-dispeller" that they are able to procure. The population of Socialist society needs none of that, hence the raising of potatoes and corn for that purpose, together with the labor therein expended, are set free for the production of healthy food. The speculative purposes that our most fertile fields are put to in the matter of the sugar beet for the exportation of sugar, have been pointed out in a previous chapter. About 400,000 hectares of the best wheat fields are yearly devoted to the cultivation of sugar beet, in order to supply England, the United States and Northern Europe with sugar. The countries whose climate favors the growth of sugar cane succumb to this competition. Furthermore, our system of a standing army, the disintegration of production, the disintegration of the means of transportation and communication, the disintegration of agriculture, etc.,—all these demand hundreds of thousands of horses, with the corresponding fields to feed them and to raise colts. The completely transformed social and political conditions free the bulk of the lands that are now given up to these various purposes; and again large areas and rich labor-power are reclaimed for purposes of civilization. Latterly, extensive fields, covering many square kilometers, have been withdrawn from cultivation, being needed for the manoeuvering and exercising of army corps in the new methods of warfare and long distance firearms. All this falls away.
The vast field of agriculture, forestry and irrigation has become the subject of an extensive scientific literature. No special branch has been left untouched: irrigation and drainage, forestry, the cultivation of cereals, of leguminous and tuberous plants, of vegetables, of fruit trees, of berries, of flowers and ornamental plants; fodder for cattle raising; meadows; rational methods of breeding cattle, fish and poultry and bees, and the utilization of their excrements; utilization of manure and refuse in agriculture and manufacture; chemical examinations of seeds and of the soil, to ascertain its fitness for this or that crop; investigations in the rotations of crops and in agricultural machinery and implements; the profitable construction of agricultural buildings of all nature; the weather;—all have been drawn within the circle of scientific treatment. Hardly a day goes by without some new discovery, some new experience being made towards improving and ennobling one or other of these several branches. With the work of J. v. Liebig, the cultivation of the soil has become a science, indeed, one of the foremost and most important of all, a science that since then has attained a vastness and significance unique in the domain of activity in material production. And yet, if we compare the fullness of the progress made in this direction with the actual conditions prevailing in agriculture to-day, it must be admitted that, until now, only a small fraction of the private owners have been able to turn the progress to advantage, and among these there naturally is none who did not proceed from the view point of his own private interests, acted accordingly, kept only that in mind, and gave no thought to the public weal. The large majority of our farmers and gardeners, we may say 98 per cent. of them, are in no wise in condition to utilize all the advances made and advantages that are possible: they lack either the means or the knowledge thereto, if not both: as to the others, they simply do as they please. Socialist society finds herein a theoretically and practically well prepared field of activity. It need but to fall to and organize in order to attain wonderful results.
The highest possible concentration of productions affords, of itself, mighty advantages. Hedges, making boundary lines, wagon roads and footpaths between the broken-up holdings are removed, and yield some more available soil. The application of machinery is possible only on large fields: agricultural machinery of fullest development, backed by chemistry and physics could to-day transform unprofitable lands, of which there are not a few, into fertile ones. The application of accumulated electric power to agricultural machinery—plows, harrows, rollers, sowers, mowers, threshers, seed-assorters, chaff-cutters, etc.—is only a question of time. Likewise will the day come when electricity will move from the fields the wagons laden with the crops: draught cattle can be spared. A scientific system of fertilizing the fields, hand in hand with thorough management, irrigation and draining will materially increase the productivity of the land. A careful selection of seeds, proper protection against weeds—in itself a head much sinned against to-day—sends up the yield still higher.
According to Ruhland, a successful war upon cereal diseases would of itself suffice to render superfluous the present importation of grain into Germany. Seeding, planting and rotation of crops, being conducted with the sole end in view of raising the largest possible volume of food, the object is then obtainable.
What may be possible even under present conditions is shown by the management of the Schnistenberg farm in the Rhenish Palatinate. In 1884 the same fell into the hand of a new tenant, who, in the course of eight years, raised three or four times as much as his predecessor. The said property is situated 320 meters above the level of the sea, 286 acres in size, of which 18 are meadows, and has generally unfavorable soil, 30 acres being sandy, 60 stony, 55 sand loam and 123 hard loam. The new method of cultivation had astonishing results. The crops rose from year to year. The increase during the period of 1884-1892 was as follows per acre:
Product. 1884. 1892. Rye 7.75 cwts. 19.50 cwts. Wheat 3.50 " 15.30 " Barley 12.00 " 18.85 " Oats 7.00 " 18.85 "
The neighboring community of Kiegsfeld, the witness of this marvelous development, followed the example and reached similar results on its own ground. The yield per acre was on an average this:
Product. 1884. 1892. Wheat 10 to 12 cwts. 13 to 18 cwts. Rye 12 to 15 " 15 to 20 " Oats 7 to 9 " 14 to 22 and even 24 Barley 9 to 11 " 18 to 22 cwts.
Such results are eloquent enough.
The cultivation of fruits, berries and garden vegetables will reach a development hardly thought possible. How unpardonably is being sinned at present in these respects, a look at our orchards will show. They are generally marked by a total absence of proper care. This is true of the cultivation of fruit trees even in countries that have a reputation for the excellence of these; Wurtemberg, for instance. The concentration of stables, depots for implements and manure and methods of feeding—towards which wonderful progress has been made, but which can to-day be applied only slightly—will, when generally introduced, materially increase the returns in raising cattle, and thereby facilitate the procurement of manure. Machinery and implements of all sorts will be there in abundance, very differently from the experience of ninety-nine one hundredths of our modern farmers. Animal products, such as milk, eggs, meat, honey, hair, wool, will be obtained and utilized scientifically. The improvements and advantages in the dairy industry reached by the large dairy associations is known to all experts, and ever new inventions and improvements are daily made. Many are the branches of agriculture in which the same and even better can be done. The preparation of the fields and the gathering of the crops are then attended to by large bodies of men, under skilful use of the weather, such as is to-day impossible. Large drying houses and sheds allow crops being gathered even in unfavorable weather, and save losses that are to-day unavoidable, and which, according to v. d. Goltz, often are so severe that, during a particularly rainy year, from eight to nine million marks worth of crops were ruined in Mecklenburg, and from twelve to fifteen in the district of Koenigsberg.
Through the skilful application of artificial heat and moisture on a large scale in structures protected from bad weather, the raising of vegetables and all manner of fruit is possible at all seasons in large quantities. The flower stores of our large cities have in mid-winter floral exhibitions that vie with those of the summer. One of the most remarkable advances made in the artificial raising of fruit is exemplified by the artificial vineyard of Garden-Director Haupt in Brieg, Silesia, which has found a number of imitators, and was itself preceded long before by a number of others in other countries, England among them. The arrangements and the results obtained in this vineyard were so enticingly described in the "Vossische Zeitung" of September 27, 1890, that we have reproduced the account in extracts:
"The glass-house is situated upon an approximately square field of 500 square meters, i. e., one-fifth of an acre. It is 4.5 to 5 meters high, and its walls face north, south, east and west. Twelve rows of double fruit walls run inside due north and south. They are 1.8 meters apart from each other and serve at the same time as supports to the flat roof. In a bed 1.25 meters deep, resting on a bank of earth 25 centimeters strong and which contains a net of drain and ventilation pipes,—a bed 'whose hard ground is rendered loose, permeable and fruitful through chalk, rubbish, sand, manure in a state of decomposition, bonedust and potash'—Herr Haupt planted against the walls three hundred and sixty grape vines of the kind which yields the noblest grape juice in the Rhinegau:—white and red Reissling and Tramine, white and blue Moscatelle and Burgundy.
"The ventilation of the place is effected by means of large fans, twenty meters long, attached to the roof, besides several openings on the side-walls. The fans can be opened and shut by means of a lever, fastened on the roof provided with a spindle and winch, and they can be made safe against all weather. For the watering of the vines 26 sprinklers are used, which are fastened to rubber pipes 1.25 meters long, and that hang down from a water tank. Herr Haupt introduced, however, another ingenious contrivance for quickly and thoroughly watering his 'wine-hall' and his 'vineyard', to wit, an artificial rain producer. On high, under the roof, lie four long copper tubes, perforated at distances of one-half meter. The streams of water that spout upward through these openings strike small round sieves made of window gauze and, filtered through these, are scattered in fine spray. To thoroughly water the vines by means of the rubber pipes requires several hours. But only one faucet needs to be turned by this second contrivance and a gentle refreshing rain trickles down over the whole place upon the grape vines, the beds and the granite flags of the walks. The temperature can be raised from 8 to 10 degrees R. above the outside air without any artificial contrivance, and simply through the natural qualities of the glass-house. In order to protect the vines from that dangerous and destructive foe, the vine louse, should it show itself, it is enough to close the drain and open all the water pipes. The inundation of the vines, thus achieved, the enemy can not withstand. The glass roof and walls protect the vineyard from storms, cold, frost and superfluous rain; in cases of hail, a fine wire-netting is spread over the same; against drought the artificial rain system affords all the protection needed. The vine-dresser of such a vineyard is his own weather-maker, and he can laugh at all the dangers from the incalculable whims and caprices of indifferent and cruel Nature,—dangers that ever threaten with ruin the fruit of the vine cultivator.
"What Herr Haupt expected happened. The vines thrived remarkably under the uniformly warm climate. The grapes ripened to their fullest, and as early as the fall of 1885 they yielded a juice not inferior to that generally obtained in the Rhinegau in point of richness of sugar and slightness of sourness. The grapes thrived equally the next year and even during the unfavorable year of 1887. On this space, when the vines have reached their full height of 5 meters, and are loaded with their burden of swollen grapes, 20 hectoliters of wine can be produced yearly, and the cost of a bottle of noble wine will not exceed 40 pennies.
"There is no reason imaginable why this process should not be conducted upon a large scale like any other industry. Glass-houses of the nature of this one on one-fifth of an acre can be undoubtedly raised upon a whole acre with equal facilities of ventilation, watering, draining and rain-making. Vegetation will start there several weeks sooner than in the open, and the vine-shoots remain safe from May frosts, rain and cold while they blossom; from drought during the growth of the grapes; from pilfering birds and grape thieves and from dampness while they ripen; finally from the vine-louse during the whole year and can hang safely deep into November and December. In his address, held in 1888 to the Society for the Promotion of Horticulture, and from which I have taken many a technical expression in this description of the 'Vineyard', the inventor and founder of the same closed his words with this alluring perspective of the future: 'Seeing that this vine culture can be carried on all over Germany, especially on otherwise barren, sandy or stony ground, such as, for instance, the worst of the Mark, that can be made arable and watered, it follows that the great interests in the cultivation of the soil receive fresh vigor from "vineyards under glass." I would like to call this industry "the vineyard of the future".'
"Just as Herr Haupt has furnished the practical proof that on this path an abundance of fine and healthy grapes can be drawn from the vine, he has also proved by his own pressing of the same what excellent wine they can yield. More thorough, more experienced, better experts and tried wine-drinkers and connoisseurs than myself have, after a severe test, bestowed enthusiastic praise upon the Reissling of the vintage of '88, upon the Tramine and Moscatelle of the vintage of '89, and upon the Burgundy of the vintage of '88, pressed from the grapes of this 'vineyard'. It should also be mentioned that this 'vineyard' also affords sufficient space for the cultivation of other side and twin plants. Herr Haupt raises between every two vines one rose bush, that blossoms richly in April and May; against the east and west walls he raises peaches, whose beauty of blossom must impart in April an appearance of truly fairy charm to this wine palace."
The enthusiasm with which the reporter describes this artificial "vineyard" in a serious paper testifies to the deep impression made upon him by this extraordinary artificial cultivation. There is nothing to prevent similar establishments, on a much more stupendous scale and for other branches of vegetation. The luxury of a double crop is obtainable in many agricultural products. To-day all such undertakings are a question of money, and their products are accessible only to the privileged classes. A Socialist society knows no other question than that of sufficient labor-power. If that is in existence, the work is done in the interest of all.
Another new invention on the field of food is that of Dr. Johann Hundhausen of Hamm in Westphalia, who succeeded in extracting the albumen of wheat—the secret of whose utilization in the legume was not yet known—in the shape of a thoroughly nutritive flour. This is a far-reaching invention. It is now possible to render the albumen of plants useful in substantial form for human food.
The inventor erected a large factory which produces vegetal albumen or aleurone meal from 80 to 83 per cent. of albumen, and a second quality of about 50 per cent. That the so-called aleurone meal represents a very concentrated albuminous food appears from the following comparison with our best elements of nourishment:
Carbon- Water Albumen Fat hydrate Cellulose Salt Aleurone meal 8.83 82.67 0.27 7.01 0.45 0.78 Hen's eggs 73.67 12.55 12.11 0.55 0.55 1.12 Beef 55.42 17.19 26.58 .... .... 1.08
Aleurone meal is not only eaten directly, it is also used as a condiment in all sorts of bakery products, as well as soups and vegetables. Aleurone meal substitutes in a high degree meat preserves in point of nutrition; moreover, it is by far the cheapest albumen obtainable to-day. One kilogram of albumen costs:
In aleurone meal 1.45 marks In white bread or white flour 4 to 4.5 " In hen's eggs, according to the season 8 to 16 " In beef 12 to 13 "
Beef, accordingly, is about eight times dearer, as albuminous food, than aleurone meal; eggs five times as dear; white bread or common white flour about three times as dear. Aleurone meal also has the advantage that, with the addition of about one-eighth of the weight of a potato, it not only furnishes a considerable quantity of albumen to the body, but produces a complete digestion of the starch contained in the potato. Dogs, that have a nose for albumen, eat aleurone meal with the same avidity as meat, even if they otherwise refuse bread, and they are then better able to stand hardships.
Aleurone meal, as a dry vegetal albumen, is of great use as food on ships, in fortresses and in military hospitals during war. It renders large supplies of meat unnecessary. At present aleurone meal is a side product in starch factories. Within short, starch will become a side product of aleurone meal. A further result will be that the cultivation of cereals will crowd out that of potatoes and other less productive food plants; the volume of nutrition of a given field of wheat or rye is tripled or quadrupled at one stroke.
Dr. Rudolf Meyer of Vienna, whose attention was called by us to the aleurone meal says that he furnished himself with a quantity of it and had it examined on June 19, 1893, by the bureau of experiments of the Board of Soil Cultivation of the Kingdom of Bohemia. The examination fully confirmed our statements. For further details Meyer's work should be read. Meyer also calls attention to a discovery made by Otto Redemann of Bockenheim near Frankfort-on-the-Main. After granulating the peanut and removing its oil, he analyzed its component elements of nutrition. The analysis showed 47 per cent. of albumen, 19 of fat and 19 of starch—altogether 2,135 units of nutritious matter in one kilo. According to this analysis the peanut is one of the most nutritious vegetal products. The pharmacist Rud. Simpson of Mohrungen discovered a process by which to remove the bitterness from the lupine, which, as may be known, thrives best on sandy soil, and is used both as fodder and as a fertilizer; and he then produced from it a meal, which, according to expert authority, baked as bread tastes very good, is solid, is said to be more nutritious than rye-bread, and, besides all that, much cheaper.
Even under present conditions a regular revolution is plowing its way in the matter of human food. The utilization of all these discoveries is, however, slow, for the reason that mighty classes—the farmer element together with its social and political props—have the liveliest interest in suppressing them. To our agrarians, a good crop is to-day a horror—although the same is prayed for in all the churches—because it lowers prices. Consequently, they are no wise anxious for a double and threefold nutritive power of their cereals; it would likewise tend to lower prices. Present society is everywhere at fisticuffs with its own development.
The preservation of the soil in a state of fertility depends primarily upon fertilization. The obtaining of fertilizers is, accordingly, for future society also one of the principal tasks. Manure is to the soil what food is to man, and just as every kind of food is not equally nourishing to man, neither is every kind of manure of equal benefit to the soil. The soil must receive back exactly the same chemical substances that it gave up through a crop; and the chemical substances especially needed by a certain vegetable must be given to the soil in larger quantities. Hence the study of chemistry and its practical application will experience a development unknown to-day.
Animal and human excrements are particularly rich in the chemical elements that are fittest for the reproduction of human food. Hence the endeavor must be to secure the same in the fullest quantity and cause its proper distribution. On this head too modern society sins grievously. Cities and industrial centers, that receive large masses of foodstuffs, return to the soil but a slight part of their valuable offal. The consequence is that the fields, situated at great distances from the cities and industrial centers, and which yearly send their products to the same, suffer greatly from a dearth of manure; the offal that these farms themselves yield is often not enough, because the men and beasts who live on them consume but a small part of the product. Thus frequently a soil-vandalism is practiced, that cripples the land and decreases the crops. All countries that export agricultural products mainly, but receive no manure back, inevitably go to ruin through the gradual impoverishment of the soil. This is the case with Hungary, Russia, the Danubian Principalities, North America, etc. Artificial fertilizers, guano in particular, indeed substitute the offal of men and beasts; but many farmers can not obtain the same in sufficient quantity; it is too dear; at any rate, it is an inversion of nature to import manure from great distances, while it is allowed to go to waste nearby.
Several years since has the Thomas-slag been recognized as an eminently fit manure for certain soils. The manufacturers, however, who grind the Thomas-slag into flour and carry it to market, have built a ring, and, to the injury of the farming interests who make bitter complaints on that score, they keep the prices high. Thus every progress is crippled by greed in bourgeois society. Another and at present inexhaustable source of fertilizers is offered by the deposits of potash in the province of Saxony and contiguous regions. The Prussian State owns a number of potash works and it also made the attempt to monopolize the industry, to the end of raising the largest possible revenues for the Treasury.
If the opinion of Julius Hensel on the subject of fertilizers proves correct, it will mean a revolution in the theory of fertilization, and a complete saving of the expenses now made for the importation of fertilizers, amounting for guano and Chile saltpeter to from 80 to 100 million marks a year. Hensel makes the emphatic claim, and produces numerous proofs of the correctness of his views, that the mineral of our mountains contain an inexhaustible supply of the best fertilizing stuffs. Granite, porphyry, basalt, broken and ground up, spread upon the fields or vineyards and furnished with a sufficiency of water, furnished a fertilizer that excelled all others, even animal and human refuse. These minerals, he claims, contain all the elements for the cultivation of plants: potash, chalk, magnesia, phosphoric, sulphuric and silicic acids, and also hydrochlorides. According to Hensel, the Sudeton, Riesen, Erz, Tichtel, Hartz, Rhone, Vogel, Taunus, Eisel and Weser mountains, the woods of Thuringen, Spessart and Oden had an inexhaustible supply of fertilizers. It will be literally possible to "make bread out of stones." The dust and dirt of our highways also are, according to Hensel, inexhaustible sources of the same blessing. In this matter we are laymen and can not test the correctness of Hensel's theories; a part of them, however, sound most plausible. Hensel charges the manufacturers of and dealers in artificial fertilizers with hostility to his discovery and with systematic opposition, because they would suffer great loss.
According to Heider, a healthy adult secretes on an average 48.8 kilograms of solid and 438 of liquid matter a year. Estimated by the present standard of the prices of manure, and if utilized without loss by evaporation, etc., this offal represents a money value of 11.8 marks. Calculating the population of Germany to be 50,000,000 in round figures, and estimating the average value of the human offal at 8 marks, the sum of 400,000,000 marks is obtained, which now is almost totally lost to agriculture, owing to the present imperfect methods for utilizing it. The great difficulty in the way of a full utilization of these stuffs lies in the establishment of proper and extensive provisions for their collection, and in the cost of transportation. Relatively, this cost is now higher than the importation of guano from far-away transmarine deposits, which, however, decline in mass in the measure that the demand increases. Every living being, however, casts off regularly an annual supply of manure about enough for a field that yields food for one person. The enormous loss is obvious. A large portion of the city excrement runs out into our rivers and streams, and pollutes them. Likewise is the refuse from kitchens and factories, also serviceable as manure, recklessly squandered.
Future society will find means and ways to stop this waste. What is done to-day in this direction is mere patchwork, and utterly inadequate. As an illustration of what could be done to-day, may be cited the canalization and the laying out of vast fields in the capital of the Empire, on whose value, however, experts are of divided opinion. Socialist society will solve the question more easily, due, in a great measure, to the fact that large cities will gradually cease to exist, and population will decentralize.
No one will regard our modern rise of metropoles as a healthy phenomenon. The modern system of manufacture and production in general, steadily draws large masses of the population to the large cities. There is the seat of manufacture and commerce; there the avenues of communication converge; there the owners of large wealth have their headquarters, the central authorities, the military staffs, the higher tribunals. There large institutions rear their heads—the academies of art, large pleasure resorts, exhibitions, museums, theaters, concert halls, etc. Hundreds are drawn thither by their professions, thousands by pleasure, and many more thousands by the hope of easier work and an agreeable life.
But, speaking figuratively, the rise of metropolitan cities makes the impression of a person whose girth gains steadily in size, while his legs as steadily become thinner, and finally will be unable to carry the burden. All around, in the immediate vicinity of the cities, the villages also assume a city aspect, in which the proletariat is heaped up in large masses. The municipalities, generally out of funds, are forced to lay on taxes to the utmost, and still remain unable to meet the demand made upon them. When finally they have grown up to the large city and it up to them, they rush into and are absorbed by it, as happens with planets that have swung too close to the sun. But the fact does not improve the conditions of life. On the contrary, they grow worse through the crowding of people in already overcrowded spaces. These gatherings of masses—inevitable under modern development, and, to a certain extent, the raisers of revolutionary centers,—will have fulfilled their mission in Socialist society. Their gradual dissolution then becomes necessary: the current will then run the other way: population will migrate from the cities to the country: it will there raise new municipalities corresponding with the altered conditions, and they will join their industrial with their agricultural activities.
So soon as—due to the complete remodeling and equipment of the means of communication and transportation, and of the productive establishments, etc., etc.—the city populations will be enabled to transfer to the country all their acquired habits of culture, to find there their museums, theaters, concert halls, reading rooms, libraries, etc.—just so soon will the migration thither set in. Life will then enjoy all the comforts of large cities, without their disadvantages. The population will be housed more comfortably and sanitarily. The rural population will join in manufacturing, the manufacturing population in agricultural pursuits,—a change of occupation enjoyed to-day by but few, and then often under conditions of excessive exertion.
As on all other fields, bourgeois society is promoting this development also: every year new industrial undertakings are transferred to the country. The unfavorable conditions of large cities—high rents and high wages—drive many employers to this migration. At the same time, the large landlords are steadily becoming industrialists—manufacturers of sugar, distillers of liquor, beer brewers, manufacturers of cement, earthen wares, tiles, woodwork, paper goods, etc. In the new social order offal of all sorts will then be easily furnished to agriculture, especially through the concentration of production and the public kitchens. Each community will, in a way, constitute a zone of culture; it will, to a large extent, itself raise its necessaries of life. Horticulture, perhaps the most agreeable of all practical occupations, will then reach fullest bloom. The cultivation of vegetables, fruit trees and bushes of all nature, ornamental flowers and shrubs—all offer an inexhaustible field for human activity, a field, moreover, whose nature excludes machinery almost wholly.
Thanks to the decentralization of the population, the existing contrast and antagonism between the country and the city will also vanish.
The peasant, this Helot of modern times, hitherto cut off from all cultural development through his isolation in the country, now becomes a free being because he has fully become a limb of civilization. The wish, once expressed by Prince Bismarck, that he might see the large cities destroyed, will be verified, but in a sense wholly different from that which he had in mind.
If the preceding arguments are rapidly passed in review, it will be seen that, with the abolition of private property in the means of production and their conversion into social property, the mass evils, that modern society reveals at every turn and which grow ever greater and more intolerable under its sway, will gradually disappear. The over-lordship of one class and its representatives ceases. Society applies its forces planfully and controls itself. As, with the abolition of the wage system the ground will be taken from under the exploitation of man by man, likewise will it be taken from under swindle and cheating—the adulteration of food, the stock exchange, etc.,—with the abolition of private capitalism. The halls in the Temples of Mammon will stand vacant; national bonds of indebtedness, stocks, pawn-tickets, mortgages, deeds, etc., will have become so much waste paper. The words of Schiller: "Let our book of indebtedness be annihilated, and the whole world reconciled" will have become reality, and the Biblical maxim: "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread" will now come into force for the heroes of the stock exchange and the drones of capitalism as well. Yet the labor that, as equal members of society they will have to perform, will not oppress them: their bodily health will be materially improved. The worry of property—said to be, judging from the pathetic assurances of our employers and capitalists in general, harder to bear than the uncertain and needy lot of the workingman—will be forever removed from those gentlemen. The excitements of speculation, that breed so many diseases of the heart and bring on so many strokes of apoplexy among our exchange jobbers, and that render them nervous wrecks, will all be saved to them. A life free from mental worry will be their lot and that of our descendants; and in the end they will gladly accommodate themselves thereto.
With the abolition of private property and of class antagonism, the State also gradually vanishes away;—it vanishes without being missed.
"By converting the large majority of the population more and more into proletarians, the capitalist mode of production creates the power, that, under penalty of its own destruction, is forced to accomplish this revolution. By urging more and more the conversion of the large, already socialized means of production into State property, it points the path for the accomplishment of this revolution.... The State was the official representative of the whole society; it was the constitution of the latter into a visible body; but it was so only in so far as it was the State of that class which itself, at its time, represented the whole society; in antiquity, the State of slave-holding citizens; in the middle ages, the State of the feudal nobility; in our own days, the State of the capitalist class. By at last becoming actually the representative of the whole social body, it renders itself superfluous. As soon as there is no longer any social class to be kept down; as soon as, together with class rule and the individual struggle for life, founded in the previous anarchy of production, the conflicts and excesses that issued therefrom have been removed, there is nothing more to be repressed, and the State or Government, as a special power of repression, is no longer necessary. The first act, wherein the State appears as the real representative of the whole body social—the seizure of the means of production in the name of society—is also its last independent act as State. The interference of the State in social relations becomes superfluous in one domain after another, and falls of itself into desuetude. The place of a government over persons is taken by the administration of things and the conduct of the processes of production. The State is not 'abolished'—it dies out!"
Along with the State, die out its representatives—cabinet ministers, parliaments, standing armies, police and constables, courts, district attorneys, prison officials, tariff and tax collectors, in short, the whole political apparatus. Barracks, and such other military structures, palaces of law and of administration, prisons—all will now await better use. Ten thousand laws, decrees and regulations become so much rubbish; they have only historic value. The great and yet so petty parliamentary struggles, with which the men of tongue imagine they rule and guide the world, are no more, they will have made room for administrative colleges and delegations whose attention will be engaged in the best means of production and distribution, in ascertaining the volume of supplies needed, in introducing and applying effective improvements in art, in architecture, in intercourse, in the process of production, etc. These are all practical matters, visible and tangible, towards which everyone stands objectively, there being no personal interests hostile to society to affect their judgment. None has any interest other than the collectivity, and that interest consists in instituting and providing everything in the best, most effective and most profitable manner.
The hundreds of thousands of former representatives of the State pass over into the various trades, and help with their intelligence and strength to increase the wealth and comforts of society. Henceforth there are known neither political crimes nor common ones. There are no more thieves, seeing that private property has ceased to be in the means of production, and everyone can now satisfy his wants with ease and comfort by work. Tramps and vagabonds likewise cease to be; they are the product of a social system based on private property; the former cease to be with the latter. And murder? Why? None can grow rich at the expense of another. Even murder out of hatred and revenge flows directly or indirectly from the modern social system. Perjury, false testimony, cheating, thefts of inheritance, fraudulent failures? There is no private property on and against which to commit these crimes. Arson? Who is to derive pleasure or satisfaction therefrom, seeing that society removes from him all sources of hatred? Counterfeiting? Why, money has become a chimera, love's labor would be lost. Contempt for religion? Nonsense. It is left to the "omnipotent and good God" to punish him who should offend Him—provided there be still controversies on the existence of God.
Thus all the cornerstones of the present "order" become myths. Parents will tell their children stories on those heads, like legends from olden days. The narrations of the persecutions, that men with new ideas are to-day overwhelmed with, will sound to them just as the stories of the burning of heretics and witches sound to us to-day. The names of all the great men, who to-day distinguish themselves by their persecutions of the new ideas, and who are applauded by their narrow-minded contemporaries, are forgotten and blown over, and they are run across only by the historian who may happen to dive into the past. What remarks may escape him, we care not to tell, seeing that, unhappily, we do not yet live in an age where man is free to breathe.
As with the State, so with "Religion." It is not "abolished." God will not be "dethroned"; religion will not be "torn out of the hearts of people"; nor will any of the silly charges against the Socialists materialize. Such mistaken policies the Socialists leave to the Bourgeois ideologists, who resorted to such means in the French Revolution and, of course, suffered miserable shipwreck. Without any violence whatever, and without any manner of oppression of thought, religion will gradually vanish.
Religion is the transcendental reflection of the social conditions of given epochs. In the measure that human development advances and society is transformed, religion is transformed along with it. It is, as Marx puts it, a popular striving after the illusory happiness that corresponds with a social condition which needs such an illusion. The illusion wanes so soon as real happiness is descried, and the possibility of its realization penetrates the masses. The ruling classes endeavor, in their own interest, to prevent this popular conception. Hence they seek to turn religion into a means to preserve their domination. The purpose appears fully in their maxim: "The people must be held to religion." This particular business becomes an official function in a society that rests upon class rule. A caste is formed that assumes this function and that turns the whole acumen of their minds towards preserving, and enlarging such a social structure, seeing that thereby their own power and importance are increased.
Starting in fetishism at low stages of civilization and primitive social conditions, religion becomes polytheism at a higher, and monotheism at a still higher stage. It is not the gods that create men, it is man who turns the gods into God. "In the image of himself (man) he created Him" (God), not the opposite way. Monotheism has also suffered changes. It has dissolved into a pantheism that embraces and permeates the universe—and it volatilizes day by day. Natural science reduced to myth the dogma of the creation of the earth in six days; astronomy, mathematics, physics have converted heaven into a structure of air, and the stars, once fastened to the roof of heaven in which angels had their abodes, into fixed stars and planets whose very composition excludes all angelic life.
The ruling class, finding itself threatened in its existence, clings to religion as a prop of all authority, just as every ruling class has done heretofore. The bourgeoisie or capitalist class itself believes in nothing. Itself, at every stage of its development and through the modern science that sprang from none but its own lap, has destroyed all faith in religion and authority. Its faith is only a pretence; and the Church accepts the help of this false friend because itself is in need of help. "Religion is necessary for the people."
No such considerations animate Socialistic Society. Human progress and unadulterated science are its device. If any there be who has religious needs, he is free to please himself in the company of those who feel like him. It is a matter that does not concern society. Seeing that the clergyman's own mind will be improved by work, the day will dawn to him also when he will realize that the highest aim is to be man.
Ethics and morality exist without organized religion. The contrary is asserted only by weak-minded people or hypocrites. Ethics and morality are the expression of conceptions that regulate the relations of man to man, and their mutual conduct. Religion embraces the relations of man with supernal beings. And, just as with religion, moral conceptions also are born of existing social conditions at given times. Cannibals regard the eating of human beings as highly moral; Greeks and Romans regarded slavery as moral; the feudal lord of the Middle Ages regarded serfdom as moral; and to-day the modern capitalist considers highly moral the institution of wage-slavery, the flaying of women with night work and the demoralization of children by factory labor. Here we have four different social stages, and as many different conceptions of morality, and yet in none does the highest moral sense prevail. Undoubtedly the highest moral stage is that in which men stand to one another free and equal; that in which the principle: "What you do not wish to be done unto you, do not unto others" is observed inviolate throughout the relations of man to man. In the Middle Ages, the genealogical tree was the standard; to-day it is property; in future society, the standard of man is man. And the future is Socialism in practice.
* * * * *
The late Reichstag delegate, Dr. Lasker, delivered, in the seventies, an address in Berlin, in which he arrived at the conclusion that an equal level of education for all members of society was possible. Dr. Lasker was an anti-Socialist a rigid upholder of private property and of the capitalist system of production. The question of education is to-day, however, a question of money. Under such conditions, an equal level of education for all is an impossibility. Exceptional persons, situated in relatively favorable conditions, may, by dint of overcoming all difficulties and by the exertion of great energy, not given to everybody, succeed in acquiring a higher education. The masses never, so long as they live in a state of social oppression.
In the new social order, the conditions of existence are equal for all. Wants and inclinations differ, and, differences being grounded in the very nature of man, will continue so to be. Each member, however, can live and develop under the same favorable conditions that obtain for all. The uniformity, generally imputed to Socialism, is, as so many other things, false and nonsensical. Even if Socialism did so wish it, the wish were absurd; it would come in conflict with the nature of man; Socialism would have to give up the idea of seeing society develop according to its principles. Aye, even if Socialism were to succeed in overpowering society and to force upon it unnatural conditions, it would not be long before such conditions, felt to be shackles, would be snapped, and Socialism would be done for. Society develops out of itself, according to laws latent in it, and it acts accordingly.
One of the principal tasks of the new social system will be the education of the rising generation in keeping with its improved opportunities. Every child that is born, be it male or female, is a welcome addition to society. Society sees therein the prospect of its own perpetuity, of its own further development. It, therefore, also realizes the duty of providing for the new being according to its best powers. The first object of its attention must, consequently, be the one that gives birth to the new being—the mother. A comfortable home; agreeable surroundings and provisions of all sorts, requisite to this stage of maternity; a careful nursing—such are the first requirements. The mother's breast must be preserved for the child as long as possible and necessary. This is obvious. Moleschott, Sonderegger, all hygienists and physicians are agreed that nothing can fully substitute the mother's nourishment.
People who, like Eugen Richter, indignate at the idea of a young mother being placed in a lying-in establishment, where she is surrounded by all that to-day is possible only to the very wealthiest, and which even these cannot furnish in the fullness attainable at institutions especially equipped for the purpose—such people we wish to remind of the fact that, to-day, at least four-fifths of the population are born under the most primitive circumstances and conditions, that are a disgrace to our civilization. Of the remaining one-fifth of our mothers, only a minority is able to enjoy the nursing and comforts that should be bestowed upon a woman in that state. The fact is that in cities with excellent provisions for child-birth—Berlin for instance, and all University cities—even to-day not a few women resort to such institutions as soon as they feel their time approaching, and await their delivery. Unfortunately, however, the expenses at such institutions are so high, that but few women can use them, while others are held back by prejudice. Here again we have an instance of how everywhere bourgeois society carries in its own lap the germ of the future order.
For the rest, maternity among the rich has a unique taste; the maternal duties are transferred as soon as possible to a proletarian nurse. As is well known, the Wendt Lausitz (Spreewald) is the region that the women of the Berlin bourgeoisie, who are unwilling or unable to nurse their own babies, draw their wet-nurses from. The "cultivation of nurses" is there carried on as a peculiar trade. It consists in the girls of the district causing themselves to be impregnated, with the end in view of being able, after the birth of their own children, to hire themselves out as nurses to rich Berlin families. Girls who give birth to three or four illegitimate children, so as to be able to go out as nurses, are no rarity; and they are sought after by the males of the Spreewald according to their earnings in this business. Such a system is utterly repellant from the view-point of bourgeois morality; from the view-point of the family interests of the bourgeoisie it is considered praiseworthy and desirable.
So soon as in the society of the future the child has grown up, it falls in with the other children of its own age for play, and under common surveillance. All that can be furnished for its mental and physical culture is at hand, according to the measure of general intelligence. Whosoever has watched children knows that they are brought up best in the company of their equals, their sense of gregariousness and instinct of imitation being generally strong. The smaller are strongly inclined to take the older ones as example, and rather follow them than their own parents. These qualities can be turned to advantage in education. The playgrounds and kindergartens are followed by a playful introduction into the preliminaries of knowledge and of the various manual occupations. This is followed up by agreeable mental and physical work, connected with gymnastic exercises and free play in the skating rink and swimming establishments; drills, wrestling, and exercises for both sexes follow and supplement one another. The aim is to raise a healthy, hardy, physically and mentally developed race. Step by step follows the induction of the youth in the various practical pursuits—manufacturing, horticulture, agriculture, the technique of the process of production, etc.; nor is the development of the mind neglected in the several branches of science.
The same process of "dusting" and improvement observed in the system of production, is pursued in that of education; obsolete, superfluous and harmful methods and subjects are dropped. The knowledge of natural things, introduced in a natural way, will spur the desire for knowledge infinitely more than a system of education in which one subject is at odds with another, and each cancels the other, as, for instance, when "religion" is taught on one hand, and on the other natural sciences and natural history. The equipment of the school rooms and educational establishments is in keeping with the high degree of culture of the new social order. All the means of education and of study, clothing and support are furnished by society; no pupil is at a disadvantage with another. That is another chapter at which our "men of law and order" bristle up indignantly. "The school-house is to be turned into barracks; parents are to be deprived of all influence upon their children!" is the cry of our adversaries. All false! Seeing that in the future society parents will have infinitely more time at their disposal than is the case to-day with the large majority—we need but to call attention to the ten to fifteen hour day of many workingmen in the post office, the railroads, the prisons, the police department, and to the demands made upon the time of the industrial workers, the small farmers, merchants, soldiers, many physicians, etc.—it follows that they will be able to devote themselves to their children in a measure that is impossible to-day. Moreover, the parents themselves have the regulation of education in their hands; it is they who determine the measures that shall be adopted and introduced. We are then living in a thoroughgoing democratic society. The Boards of Education, which will exist, of course, are made up of the parents themselves—men and women—and of those following the educational profession. Does any one imagine they will act against their own interests? That happens only to-day when the State seeks but to enforce its own exclusive interests.
Our opponents furthermore demean themselves as though to-day one of the greatest pleasures of parents was to have their children about them all day long, and to educate them. It is just the reverse in reality. What hardships and cares are to-day caused by the education of a child, even when a family has but one of them, those parents are best able to judge who are themselves so situated. Several children, in a manner, facilitate education, but then again they give rise to so much more trouble that their father and especially the mother, who is the one to bear the heaviest burden, is happy when the school hour arrives, and thus the house is rid of the children for a portion of the day. Most parents can afford but a very imperfect education to their children. The large majority of fathers and mothers lack time; the former have their business, the latter their household to attend to, and their time is furthermore taken up with social duties. Even when they actually have time, in innumerable instances they lack the ability. How many parents are able to follow the course of their children's education at school, and to take them under the arm in their schoolwork at home? Only few. The mother, who in most such cases has greater leisure at her disposal, lacks capacity; she has not herself received sufficient training. Moreover, the method and the courses of education change so frequently that these are strange to the parents.
Again, the home facilities are generally so poor that the children enjoy neither the necessary comfort, nor order, nor quiet to do their schoolwork at home, or to find there the needed aid. Everything necessary is generally wanting. The home is narrow and overcrowded; small and grown-up brothers and sisters move about over that narrow space; the furniture is not what it should be, and furnishes no facilities to the child for study. Not infrequently light, also air and heat are wanting; the materials for study and work, if there be any of them, are poor; frequently even hunger gnaws at the stomach of the child and robs it of mind and pleasure for its work. As a supplement to this picture, the fact must be added that hundreds of thousands of children are put to all manner of work, domestic and industrial, that embitters their youth and disables them from fulfilling their educational task. Again, often do children have to overcome the resistance of narrow-minded parents when they try to take time for their schoolwork or for play. In short, the obstacles are so numerous that, if they are all taken into account, the wonder is the youth of the land is as well educated. It is an evidence of the health of human nature, and of its inherent ambition after progress and perfection.
Bourgeois society itself recognizes some of these evils by the introduction of public education and by facilitating the same still more through the free supply, here and there, of school material—two things that, as late as about the year 1885 the then Minister of Education of Saxony designated as a "Social Democratic demand," and as such flung the designation in the face of the Socialist Representative in the Landtag. In France, where, after long neglect, popular education advanced so much more rapidly, progress has gone still further. At least in Paris, the school children are fed at public expense. The poor obtain food free, and the children of parents who are better circumstanced contribute thereto a slight tax toward the common treasury—a communistic arrangement that has proved satisfactory to parents and children alike.
An evidence of the inadequacy of the present school system—it is unable to fulfil even the moderate demands made upon it—is the fact that thousands upon thousands of children are unable to fulfil their school duties by reason of insufficient food. In the winter of 1893-94, it was ascertained in Berlin that in one school district alone 3,600 children went to school without breakfast. In such shocking conditions there are hundreds of thousands of children in Germany to-day at certain seasons of the year. With millions of others the nourishment is utterly insufficient. For all these children public alimentation and clothing also would be a godsend. A commonwealth that pursued such a policy and thus, by the systematic nourishing and clothing of the children, would bring humanity home to them, is not likely to see the sight of "penitentiaries." Bourgeois society cannot deny the existence of such misery, which itself has called forth. Hence we see compassionate souls foregathering in the establishment of breakfast and soup houses, to the end of partially filling by means of charity what it were the duty of society to fill in full. Our conditions are wretched—but still more wretched is the mental make-up of those who shut their eyes to such facts.
The system of reducing so-called home school work, and of having the same done at school under the supervision of a teacher is progressing; the inadequacy of home facilities is realized. Not only is the richer pupil at an advantage over the poorer by reason of his position, but also by reason of his having private teachers and such other assistance at his command. On the other hand, however, laziness and shiftlessness are promoted with the rich pupil by reason of the effects of wealth, luxury and superfluity; these make knowledge appear superfluous to him, and often they place before him such immoral sights that he easily slides into temptation. He who every day and every hour hears the praises sung of rank, position, money, property, and that they are all-essential, acquires abnormal conceptions regarding man and his duties, and regarding State and social institutions.
Closely looked into, bourgeois society has no reason to feel indignant at the communistic education, which Socialists aim at. Bourgeois society has itself partly introduced such a system for the privileged classes, but only as a caricature of the original. Look at the cadet and alumni establishments, at the seminaries, at the schools for clergymen, and at the homes for military orphans. In them many thousands of children, partly from the so-called upper classes, are educated in a one-sided and wrongful manner, and in strict cloister seclusion; they are trained for certain specific occupations. And again, many members of the better situated classes, who live in the country or in small places as physicians, clergymen, government employes, factory owners, landlords, large farmers, etc., send their children to boarding schools in the large cities and barely get a glimpse of them, except possibly during vacations.
There is, accordingly, an obvious contradiction between the indignation expressed by our adversaries at a communistic system of education and at "the estrangement of children from their parents," on the one hand, and their own conduct, on the other, in introducing the identical system for their own children—only in a bungling, absolutely false and inadequate style.
In equal tempo with the increased opportunities for education must the number of teachers increase. In the matter of the education of the rising generations the new social order must proceed in a way similar to that which prevails in the army, in the drilling of soldiers. There is one "under-officer" to each eight or ten men. With one teacher to every eight or ten pupils, the future may expect the results that should be aimed at.
The introduction of mechanical activities in the best equipped workshops, in garden and field work, will constitute a good part of the education of the youth. It will all be done with the proper change and without excessive exertion, to the end of reaching the most perfectly developed beings.
Education must also be equal and in common for both sexes. Their separation is justifiable only in the cases where the difference in sex makes such separation absolutely necessary. In this manner of education the United States is far ahead of us. There education of the two sexes is in common from the primary schools up to the universities. Not only is education free, but also school materials, inclusive of the instruments needed in manual training and in cooking, as also in chemistry, physics, and the articles needed for experimenting and at bench-work. To many schools are attached gymnastic halls, bath houses, swimming basins and playgrounds. In the higher schools, the female sex is trained in gymnastics, swimming, rowing and marching.
The Socialist system of education, properly regulated and ordered and placed under the direction of a sufficient force, continues up to the age when society shall determine that its youth shall enter upon their majority. Both sexes are fully qualified to exercise all the rights and fill all the duties that society demands from its adult members. Society now enjoys the certainty of having brought up only thorough, fully developed members, human beings to whom nothing natural is strange, as familiar with their nature as with the nature and conditions of society which they join full-righted.
The daily increasing excesses of our modern youth—all of them the inevitable consequences of the present tainted and decomposing state of society—will have vanished. Impropriety of conduct, disobedience, immorality and rude pleasure-seeking, such as is especially noticeable among the youth of our higher educational institutions—the gymnasia, polytechnics, universities, etc.—vices that are incited and promoted by the existing demoralization and unrest of domestic life, by the poisonous influence of social life such as the immoral literature that wealth procures—all these will likewise have vanished. In equal measure will disappear the evil effects of the modern factory system and of improper housing, that dissoluteness and self-assurance of youths at an age when the human being is most in need of reining and education in self-control. All these evils future society will escape without the need of coercive measures. The nature of the social institutions and of the mental atmosphere, that will spring from them and that will rule society itself, rendering impossible the breaking out of such evils; as in Nature disease and the destruction of organisms can appear only when there is a state of decay that invites disease; so likewise in society.
No one will deny that our present system of instruction and of education suffers of serious defects—the higher schools and educational establishments even more so than the lower. The village school is a paragon of moral health compared with the college; common schools for the manual training of poor girls are paragons of morality compared with many leading boarding schools for girls. The reason is not far to seek. In the upper classes of society, every aspiration after higher human aims is smothered; those classes no longer have any ideal. As a consequence of the absence of ideals and of noble endeavor, an unbounded passion for physical indulgence and hankering after excesses spread their physical and moral gangrene in all directions. How else can the youth be that is brought up in such an atmosphere? Purely material indulgence, without stint and without bounds, is the only aim that it sees or knows of. Why exert themselves, if the wealth of their parents makes all effort seem superfluous? The maximum of education with a large majority of the sons of our bourgeoisie consists in passing the examinations for the one year's service in the army. Is this goal reached, then they imagine to have climbed Pelion and Ossa, and regard themselves at least as demi-gods. Have they a reserve officer's certificate in their pocket, then their pride and arrogance knows no limit. The influence exercised by this generation—a generation it has become by its numbers—weak in the character and knowledge of its members, but strong in their designs and the spirit of graft, characterizes the present period as the "Age of Reserve Officers." Its peculiarities are: Characterlessness and ignorance, but a strong will; servility upward, arrogance and brutality downward.
The daughters of our bourgeoisie are trained as show-dolls, fools of fashion and drawingroom-ladies, on the chase after one enjoyment after another, until, finally, surfeited with ennui, they fall a prey to all imaginable real and supposed diseases. Grown old, they become devotees and beads-women, who turn up their eyes at the corruption of the world and preach asceticism. As regards the lower classes, the effort is on foot to lower still more the level of their education. The proletariat might become too knowing, it might get tired of its vassalage, and might rebel against its earthly gods. The more stupid the mass, all the easier is it to control and rule.
And thus modern society stands before the question of instruction and education as bewildered as it stands before all other social questions. What does it? It calls for the rod; preaches "religion," that is, submission and contentment to those who are now but too submissive; teaches abstinence where, due to poverty, abstinence has become compulsory in the utmost necessaries of life. Those who in the rudeness of their nature rear up brutally are taken to "reformatories," that usually are controlled by pietistic influences;—and the pedagogic wisdom of modern society has about reached the end of its tether.
From the moment that the rising generation in future society shall have reached its majority, all further growth is left to the individual: society will feel sure that each will seize the opportunity to unfold the germs that have been so far developed in him. Each does according as inclination and faculties serve him. Some choose one branch of the ever more brilliant natural sciences: anthropology, zoology, botany, mineralogy, geology, physics, chemistry, prehistoric sciences, etc.; others take to the science of history, philologic researches, art; others yet become musicians from special gifts, or painters, or sculptors, or actors. The future will have "guild artists" as little as "guild scientists" or "guild artisans." Thousands of brilliant talents, hitherto kept down, unfold and assert themselves and display their knowledge and ability wherever opportunity offers. No longer are there any musicians, actors, artists and scientists by profession; they will exist only by inspiration, talent and genius; and the achievements of these bid fair to excel modern achievements on these fields as vastly as the industrial, technical and agricultural achievements of future society are certain to excel those of to-day. An era of art and sciences will spring up such as the world never saw before; nor will its creations fail to correspond to such a renaissance.
What transformation and new-birth science will experience when conditions shall have become worthy of the human race, no less a man than the late Richard Wagner foresaw and expressed as early as 1850 in his work "Art and Revolution." This work is all the more significant seeing that it made its appearance immediately after a revolution that had just been beaten down, that Wagner took part in, and by reason of which he had to flee from Dresden. In this book Wagner foretells what the future will bring on. He turns directly to the working class as the one called upon to emancipate true art. Among other things he says:
"When, with the free human race of the future, the earning of a living shall no longer be the object of life; when, on the contrary, thanks to the rise of a new faith, or of higher knowledge, the gaining of a livelihood by means of compatible work shall be raised above all uncertainty;—in short, when industry shall no longer be our master but our servant, then will we place the object of life in the pleasure of life, and seek to make our children fit and worthy through education. An education that starts from the exercise of strength, from the care of the beauty of the body will, due to the undisturbed love for the child and to the joy experienced at the thriving of its charms, become purely artistic; and thus in some sense or another every being will be an artist in truth. The diversity of natural inclinations will develop the most manifold aptitudes into an unprecedented wealth of beauty!"—at all points a Socialist line of thought, and fully in keeping with the arguments herein made.
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Social life in future will be ever more public. What the trend is may be gathered from the wholly changed position of woman, compared with former times. Domestic life will be confined to what is absolutely necessary, while the widest field will be opened to the gratification of the social instincts. Large gathering places for the holding of addresses and discussions, and for conferring upon all social questions, over which the collectivity has the sovereign word; play, meal and reading rooms; libraries, concert halls and theaters; museums and gymnastic institutions; parks, promenades, public baths, educational institutions of all sorts; laboratories, etc.;—all of these, erected in the best and equipped in the fittest manner possible, will afford richest opportunity for all manner of intercourse, of art and of science to achieve the highest. Likewise will the institutions for the nursing of the sick, the weak, the infirm through old age, meet the highest demands.
How little will then our much boasted about age seem in comparison. This fawning for favor and sunshine from above; this cringing and dog-like frame of mind; this mutual struggle of enviousness, with the aid of the most hateful and vilest means, for the privileged place. All along the suppression of convictions; the veiling of good qualities, that might otherwise give offence; the emasculation of character; the affectation of opinions and feelings;—in short, all those qualities that may be summed up in words "cowardice and characterlessness" are now every day more pronounced. Whatever elevates and ennobles man—self-esteem, independence and incorruptibility of opinion and convictions, freedom of utterance—modern conditions generally turn into defects and crimes. Often do these qualities work the ruin of their owners, unless he suppresses them. Many do not even realize their degradation; they have grown accustomed thereto. The dog regards it a matter of course that he has a master, who, when out of temper, visits him with the whip.