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Woman under socialism
by August Bebel
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We see that the principle of denying woman the suffrage on the theory of her not being "of age" is broken through in fact; and yet objection is raised to granting her the right in full. It is said that to grant woman the suffrage is dangerous because she yields easily to religious prejudices, and is conservative. She is both only because she is ignorant. Let her be educated and taught where her interests lie. For the rest, the influence of religion on elections is exaggerated. Ultramontane agitation has hitherto been so successful in Germany only because it knew how to join social with religious interests. The ultramontane chaplains long vied with the Socialists in uncovering the social foulness. Hence their influence with the masses. With the close of the Kulturkampf, the influence of the Catholic clergymen upon the masses waned. The clergy is forced to discontinue its opposition to the Government; simultaneously therewith, the rising class struggle compels it to consider the Catholic capitalist class and Catholic nobility; it will, accordingly, be compelled to observe greater caution on the social field. Thus the clergy will forfeit its influence with the workingmen, especially at such critical junctures when considerations for the Government and the ruling classes drive it to approve of, or tolerate actions and laws directed against the interests of the working class. The same causes will, in the end, have their influence upon woman. When at public meetings, through newspapers and from personal observation she will have learned where her own interest lies, woman will emancipate herself from the clergy, the same as man has done. The fiercest opponent of female suffrage is the clergy, and it knows the reason why. Its rule and its domains are endangered.

That the movement for the political rights of woman has not been promptly crowned with greater success is no reason to withhold the ballot from her. What would the workingmen say if the Liberals proposed abolishing manhood suffrage—and the same is very inconvenient to them—on the ground that it benefits the Socialists in particular? A good law does not become bad by reason of him who wields it not yet having learned its right use.

Naturally, the right to be elected should go together with the right to elect. "A woman in the tribune of the Reichstag, that would be a spectacle!" we hear people exclaim. Our generation has grown accustomed to the sight of women in the speaker's tribune at their conventions and meetings; in the United States, also in the pulpit and the jury box—why not, then, also in the tribune of the Reichstag? The first woman elected to the Reichstag, would surely know how to impose respect. When the first workingmen entered the Reichstag it was also believed they could be laughed down, and it was claimed that the working class would soon realize the foolishness it had committed in electing such people. Its representatives, however, knew how to make themselves quickly respected; the fear to-day is lest there be too many of them. Frivolous witlings put in: "Just imagine a pregnant woman in the tribune of the Reichstag; how utterly unesthetic!" The identical gentlemen find it, however, quite in order that pregnant women work at the most unesthetic trades, at trades in which female dignity, health and decency are undermined. In the eyes of a Socialist, that man is a wretch who can crack jokes over a woman with child. The mere thought that his own mother once looked like that before she brought him into the world, should cause his cheeks to burn with shame; the thought that he, rude jester, expects from a similar condition on the part of his wife the fulfillment of his dearest wishes should cause him, furthermore, to hold his tongue in shame.

A woman who gives birth to children renders, at least, the same service to the commonwealth as the man who defends his country and his hearth with his life against a foe in search of conquests. Moreover, the life of a woman trembles in the scales at child-birth. All our mothers have looked death in the face at our births, and many succumbed. The number of women who die as a result of child-birth, or who as a consequence pine away in sickness, is greater than that of the men who fall on the field of battle, or are wounded. In Prussia, between 1816-1876, not less than 321,791 women fell a prey to child-birth fever—a yearly average of 5,363. This is by far a larger figure than that of the Prussians, who, during the same period, were killed in war or died of their wounds. Nor must, at the contemplation of this enormous number of women who died of child-birth fever, the still larger number of those be lost sight of, who, as a consequence of child-birth, are permanently crippled in health, and die prematurely.[157] These are additional reasons for woman's equal rights with man—reasons to be held up especially to those, who play man's duty to defend the Fatherland as a decisive circumstance, entitling them to superior consideration to women. For the rest, in virtue of our military institutions, most men do not even fill this duty: to the majority of them it exists upon paper only.

All these superficial objections to the public activity of woman would be unimaginable were the relations of the two sexes a natural one, and were there not an antagonism, artificially raised side by side with the relation of master and servant between the two. From early youth the two are separated in social intercourse and education. Above all, it is the antagonism, for which Christianity is responsible, that keeps the sexes steadily apart and the one in ignorance about the other, and that hinders free social intercourse, mutual confidence, a mutual supplementing of traits of character.

One of the first and most important tasks of a rationally organized society must be to end this unhallowed split, and to reinstate Nature in its rights. The violence done to Nature starts at school: First, the separation of the sexes; next, mistaken, or no instruction whatever, in matters that concern the human being as a sexual entity. True enough, natural history is taught in every tolerably good school. The child learns that birds lay eggs and hatch them out: he also learns when the mating season begins: that males and females are needed: that both jointly assume the building of the nests, the hatching and the care of the young. He also learns that mammals bring forth live young: he learns about the rutting season and about the fights of the males for the females during the same: he learns the usual number of young, perhaps also the period of pregnancy. But on the subject of the origin and development of his own stock he remains in the dark; that is veiled in mystery. When, thereupon, the child seeks to satisfy his natural curiosity with questions addressed to his parents, to his mother in particular—he seldom ventures with them to his teacher—he is saddled with the silliest stories that cannot satisfy him, and that are all the more injurious when he some day does ascertain the truth. There are probably few children who have not made the discovery by the twelfth year of their age. In all small towns, in the country especially, children observe from earliest years the mating of birds, the copulation of domestic animals; they see this in closest proximity, in the yard, on the street, and when the cattle are turned loose. They see that the conditions under which the heat of the cattle is gratified, as well as the act of birth of the several domestic animals are made the subject of serious, thorough and undisguised discussion on the part of their parents, elder brothers and servants. All that awakens doubts in the child's mind on the accounts given him of his own entry into life. Finally the day of knowledge does come; but it comes in a way other than it would have come under a natural and rational education. The secret that the child discovers leads to estrangement between child and parents, particularly between child and mother. The reverse is obtained of that which was aimed at in folly and shortsightedness. He who recalls his own youth and that of his young companions knows what the results frequently are.

An American woman says, among other things in a work written by her, that wishing to answer the repeated questions of her eight-year-old son on his origin, and unwilling to saddle him with nursery tales, she disclosed the truth to him. The child listened to her with great attention, and, from the day that he learned what cares and pains he had caused his mother, he clung to her with a tenderness and reverence not noticed in him before, and showed the same reverence toward other women also.[158] The authoress proceeds from the correct premises that only by means of a natural education can any real improvement—more respect and self-control on the part of the male toward the female sex—be expected. He who reasons free from prejudice will arrive at no other conclusion.

Whatever be the point of departure in the critique of our social conditions, the conclusion is ever the same—their radical transformation; thereby a radical transformation in the position of the sexes is inevitable. Woman, in order to arrive all the quicker at the goal, must look for allies whom, in the very nature of things, the movement of the working class steers in her direction. Since long has the class-conscious proletariat begun the storming of the fortress, the Class-State, which also upholds the present domination of one sex by the other. That fortress must be surrounded on all sides with trenches, and assailed to the point of surrender with artillery of all calibre. The besieging army finds its officers and munitions on all sides. Social and natural science, jointly with historical research, pedagogy, hygiene and statistics are advancing from all directions, and furnish ammunition and weapons to the movement. Nor does philosophy lag behind. In Mainlaender's "The Philosophy of Redemption,"[159] it announces the near-at-hand realization of the "Ideal State."

The ultimate conquest of the Class-State and its transformation is rendered all the easier to us through the divisions in the ranks of its defenders, who, despite the oneness of their interests against the common enemy, are perpetually at war with one another in the strife for plunder. Further aid comes to us from the daily-growing mutiny in the ranks of the enemies, whose forces to a great extent are bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh—elements that, out of misunderstanding and misled, have hitherto fought against us and thus against themselves, but are gradually becoming clearsighted, and pass over to us. Finally we are aided by the desertion of the honorable elements from the ranks of the hitherto hostile men of thought, who have perceived the truth, and whose higher knowledge spurs them to leap their low class interests, and, following their ideal aspirations after justice, join the masses that are thirsting for freedom.

Many do not yet realize the stage of dissolution that State and Society are in. Hence, and although the dark blotches have been frequently pointed out in the preceding chapters, a separate treatment of the subject is requisite.

FOOTNOTES:

[151] Louis Bridel, "La Puissance Maritale," Lausanne, 1879.

[152] In the presentation of these civil rights we have merely followed Louis Bridel's work: "Le Droit des Femmes et le Marriage," Paris, 1893.

[153] How correct this view is transpires also from the comedy of Aristophanes: "The Popular Assembly of Women." In that comedy, Aristophanes depicts how the Athenian government had reached the point when everything was going at sixes and sevens. The Prytaneum put the question to the popular assembly of the Athenian citizens: "How is the State to be saved?" Thereupon a woman, disguised as a man, made the proposition to entrust the helm of State to the women, and the proposition was accepted without opposition "because it was the only thing that had never before happened in Athens." The women seized the helm, and forthwith instituted communism. Of course, Aristophanes turns this condition into ridicule, but the significant point in the play is that, the moment the women had a decisive word in public affairs, they instituted communism as the only rational political and social condition from the standpoint of their own sex. Aristophanes little dreamed how he hit the truth while meaning to joke.

[154] The above two paragraphs are left as they appear in the text, although they seem to be subject to corrections.

A diligent search in the libraries of this city for the original of the above "Address to the Parliaments of the World," stated to have been issued by the Legislature of Wyoming in 1894, having proved vain, the Secretary of the State of Wyoming was written to. His answer was:

The State of Wyoming, Office of the Secretary of State. Cheyenne, June 5, 1903.

Mr. Daniel DeLeon, New York City:

Dear Sir—Replying to your letter of June 1st, would say that the Legislature of Wyoming was not in session in 1894, and did not pass any resolutions on Woman Suffrage in 1893 or 1895.

I enclose herewith the resolutions adopted by the Legislature of 1901, and also Senate and House resolutions adopted in 1903 on the subject of Woman Suffrage. Yours truly,

F. Chatterton, Secretary of State.

The resolutions enclosed in the above letter were these:

[House Joint Resolution No. 8, adopted February, 1901.]

Whereas, Wyoming was the first state to adopt equal suffrage and equal suffrage has been in operation since 1869; was adopted in the constitution of the State of Wyoming in 1890, during which time women have exercised the privilege as generally as men, with the result that better candidates have been selected for office, methods of election have been purified, the character of legislation improved, civic intelligence increased and womanhood developed to greater usefulness by political responsibility;

Therefore, Resolved, by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring, That, in view of these results, the enfranchisement of women in every state and territory of the American Union is hereby recommended as a measure tending to the advancement of a higher and better social order.

That an authenticated copy of these resolutions be forwarded by the Governor of the state to the legislature of every state and territory, and that the press be requested to call public attention to these resolutions.

Edward W. Stone, President of Senate. J. S. Atherly, Speaker of House. Approved February 13th, 1901. DeF. Richards, Governor.

[Senate and House Resolution, Seventh Legislature, 1903.]

Whereas, The question of equal suffrage is being seriously considered in many States of the Union; and,

Whereas, Equal suffrage has been in operation in Wyoming ever since Territorial days in 1869, during which time women have exercised the privilege of voting generally and intelligently, with the result that a higher standard of candidates have usually been selected for office; elections have been made peaceful, orderly and dignified; the general character of legislation improved; intelligence in political, civic and social matters greatly increased; and,

Whereas, Under the responsibilities incident to suffrage the women of Wyoming have not in any sense been deprived of any of their womanly qualities, but on the contrary the womanhood of Wyoming has developed to a broader usefulness; therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate of the Wyoming Legislature, That in view of the beneficence and practical results of equal suffrage for men and women in Wyoming, the enfranchisement of women is hereby endorsed as a great national reform and a measure that will improve and advance the political and social conditions of the country at large.

Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, President National Women Suffrage Association, 2008 American Tract Society Building, New York, and to Mrs. Harriet Taylor Upton, National Treasurer, Warren, Ohio.

G. A. Guernsey, Approved February 19th, 1903. President of the Senate. DeF. Richards, Governor. J. S. Atherly, Speaker of the House.

Agitational literature on woman suffrage, furnished by the Boston, Mass., "Woman's Journal," after the above note was in print, gives the address cited in the text, but not as issued by the Legislature of Wyoming, nor in 1894. The address was adopted in March, 1893, by the House of Representatives of the Wyoming Legislature, just before the final adjournment of the body, and was not acted upon by the Senate.—THE TRANSLATOR.

[155] In Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming women have full suffrage, and vote for all officers, including Presidential electors. In Utah and Wyoming woman suffrage is a constitutional provision.

In Indiana women may hold any office under the school laws, but can not vote for any such office.

In Kansas women exercise the suffrage largely in municipal elections.

In some form, mainly as to taxation or the selection of school officers, woman suffrage exists in a limited way in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.—THE TRANSLATOR.

[156] On September 5, 1902, the Trades Union Congress of England—made up, of course, of the British style of Trades Unionism, known in America as "Pure and Simple" Trades Unionism—rejected a resolution introduced for the purpose of giving the franchise to women on the same terms as men.—THE TRANSLATOR.

[157] "To every woman who to-day dies in child-bed, from 15 to 20 must be added who remain more or less seriously injured, and subject to womb troubles and general ill health, often for life."—Dr. H. B. Adams.

[158] Isabella Beecher-Hooker, "Womanhood, Its Sanctities and Fidelities."

[159] "Philosophie der Erloesung."



CHAPTER VI.

THE STATE AND SOCIETY.

During the last few decades and in all countries of civilization, the economic life of society has assumed an uncommonly rapid pace of development, a development that every progress on any field of human activity adds swing to. Our social relations have thereby been thrown into a state of unrest, fermentation and dissolution never known before. The ruling classes no longer feel the ground safe under them, nor do existing institutions any longer possess the firmness requisite to breast the storm, that is approaching from all sides. A feeling of uneasiness, of insecurity and of dissatisfaction has seized upon all circles, high and low. The paroxysmal efforts put forth by the ruling classes to end this unbearable state of things by means of tinkering at the body social prove themselves vain and inadequate. The general sense of increasing insecurity, that comes from these failures, increases their uneasiness and discomfort. Hardly have they inserted a beam in the shape of some law into the rickety structure, than they discover ten other places where shoring is still more urgent. All along they are at perpetual strife among themselves and deeply rent by differences of opinion. What one set deems necessary, in order somewhat to calm and reconcile the increasingly discontented masses, the other considers as going too far, and unpardonable weakness and pliancy, only calculated to prick the longing after greater concessions. Striking evidences thereof are the debates in the 1894-5 sessions of the Reichstag, both on the floor of the house and in committee, on the so-called "revolutionary bill," as well as numerous other discussions in all parliaments. Within the ruling classes themselves there exist unbridgeable contrasts, and they sharpen the social conflicts.

Governments—and not in Germany alone—are shaking like reeds in the wind. They must lean on something: without support they cannot exist: they now lean on this side, then on that. In no progressive country of Europe is there a Government with a lasting parliamentary majority, on which it can count with safety. Majorities are breaking up and dissolving; and the ever changing course, in Germany, especially, undermines the last vestige of confidence that the ruling class had in themselves. To-day one set is anvil, the other the hammer; to-morrow it is the other way. The one tears down what the other painfully builds up. The confusion is ever greater; the discontent ever more lasting; the causes of friction multiply and consume in a few months more energies than years did formerly. Along with all that, material sacrifices, called for by manifold taxes, swell beyond all measure.

In the midst of all this, our sapient statesmen are lulling themselves in wondrous illusions. With an eye to sparing property and the rich, forms of taxation are selected that smite the needy classes heaviest, and they are decreed with the belief that, seeing a large portion of the masses have not yet discovered their real nature, neither will they be felt. This is an error. The masses to-day understand fully the nature of indirect imports and taxes upon the necessaries of life. Their growing political education and perspicuity disclose to them the gross injustice of the same; and they are all the more sensitive to these burdens by reason of the wretchedness of their economic conditions, especially where families are large. The rise of prices in the necessaries of life—due to indirect imposts, or to causes that bring on similar results, such as the premiums on brandy and sugar that, to the amount of dozens of millions, a part of the ruling class pockets yearly at the expense of the poor of the kingdom, and that it seeks to raise still higher—are realized to be a gross injustice, a heavy burden, measures that stand in odd contradiction with the nature of the so-called Christian State, the State of Social Reform. These measures extinguish the last spark of faith in the sense of justice of the ruling classes, to a degree that is serious to these. It changes nothing in the final effect of these measures that the draining is done in pennies. The increase in the expenditure is there, and is finally sensible to the feeling and the sight of all. Hundreds upon hundreds of millions cannot be squeezed out of practically empty pockets, without the owners of the pockets becoming aware of the lifting. The strong pressure of direct taxation, directs the dissatisfaction among the poor against the State; the still stronger indirect taxation, directs the discontent against society also, the evil being felt to be of a social as well as political character. In that there is progress. Him whom the gods would destroy, they first make blind.

In the endeavor to do justice to the most opposed interests, laws are heaped upon laws; but no old one is thoroughly repealed, nor new one thoroughly enforced. Everything is done by halves, giving satisfaction in no direction. The requirements of civilization that spring from the life of the people, demand some attention, unless everything is to be risked; even the fractional way they are attended to, demands considerable sacrifice, all the more seeing that our public institutions are overrun by parasites. At the same time, not only are all the unproductive institutions, wholly at variance with the trend of civilization, continued in force, but, due to the existing conflicts of interests, they are rather enlarged, and thus they become all the more burdensome and oppressive in the measure that increasing popular intelligence ever more loudly pronounces them superfluous. Police, armies, courts of law, prisons, the whole administrative apparatus—all are enlarged ever more, and become ever more expensive. And yet neither external nor internal security is obtained. The reverse follows.

A wholly unnatural state of things has gradually arisen in the international relations of the several nations. The relations between nation and nation multiply in the measure that the production of goods increases; that, thanks to improved transportation, the exchange of this mass of merchandise is facilitated; and that the economic and scientific achievements of each become the public possession of all. Treaties of commerce are concluded; expensive routes of traffic—Suez Canals, St. Gotthard Tunnels—are opened with international funds. Individual countries support with heavy subsidies steamship lines that help to promote intercourse between several nations. The Postal Union—a step of first rank in civilization—is established; international conventions are convoked for all imaginable practical and scientific purposes; the literary products of genius of any nation are spread abroad by translations into the leading languages. Thus the tendency is ever more strongly marked toward the internationalizing, the fraternizing of all peoples. Nevertheless, the political, the military state of the nations of Europe stands in strange contrast to this general development. The hatred of nation against nation, Chauvinism, is artificially nourished by all. The ruling classes seek everywhere to keep green the belief that it is the peoples who are hostilely inclined toward one another, and only wait for the moment when one of them may fall upon another and destroy it. The competitive struggle between the capitalists of several countries, together with their jealousy of one another, assume upon the international field the character of a struggle between the capitalists of one country against those of another, and, backed by the political blindness of the large masses, it conjures into existence a contest of military armaments such as the world has never seen before. This contest has brought forth armies of magnitudes that never were known; it produced implements of murder and destruction for land and naval warfare of such perfection as is possible only in an age of such advanced technique as ours. The contest drives these antagonisms to a head, it incites a development of means of destruction that finally destroy themselves. The support of the armies and navies demand sacrifices that yearly become larger, and that finally ruin the richest nation. Germany, for instance, had, according to the imperial budget of 1894-95, a regular army and navy outlay of nearly 700 million marks—inclusive of pensions and of interest on the national debt, which amounts in round figures to two milliards, incurred mainly for purposes of war. Under these war expenses, the appropriations for educational and other purposes of culture suffer severely; the most pressing needs in this direction are neglected; and that side of the State, devoted to so-called external defence, acquires a preponderance that undermines the original purpose of the State itself. The increasing armies absorb the healthiest and most vigorous portion of the nation; for their improvement all mental and physical forces are enlisted in a way as if education in mass-murder were the highest mission of our times. Furthermore, implements of war as of murder are continuously improved: they have attained—in point of swiftness, range and power—a perfection that renders them fearful to friend and foe. If some day this tremendous apparatus is set in operation—when the hostile forces of Europe will take the field with twelve or fourteen million men—the fact will appear that it has become uncontrollable. There is no general who could command such masses; there is no field vast enough to collect and set them up; no administrative apparatus that could nourish them for any length of time. If battles are delivered, hospitals would be lacking to shelter the wounded: the interment of the numerous dead would be an impossibility.

When to all this is added the frightful disturbances and devastations, produced to-day by a European war on the economic-field, there is no exaggeration in the saying: "the next war is the last war." The number of bankruptcies will be unparalleled; export stops—and thereby thousands of factories are condemned to idleness; the supply of food ceases—and thereby the prices of the means of life rise enormously. The number of families whose breadwinner is in the field runs up into the millions, and most of them must be supported. Whence shall the means come for all that?

The political and military state of Europe has taken a development that cannot choose but end in a catastrophe, which will drag capitalist society down to its ruin. Having reached the height of its development, it produces conditions that end with rendering its own existence impossible; it digs its own grave; it slays itself with the identical means that itself, as the most revolutionary of all previous social systems, has called into life.

Gradually a large portion of our municipalities are arriving at a desperate pass: they hardly know how to meet the increasing demands upon themselves. It is more particularly upon our rapidly growing large cities, and upon the localities situated in industrial districts, that the quickened increase of population makes a mass of demands, which the generally poor communities can come up to only by raising taxes and incurring debts. The budgets leap upward from year to year for school buildings, and street paving, for lighting, draining and water works; for sanitary, public and educational purposes; for the police and the administration. At the same time, the favorably situated minority makes the most expensive demands upon the community. It demands higher institutions of education, theatres, the opening of particularly fine city quarters with lighting, pavement, etc., to match. However justly the majority may complain of the preference, it lies in the very nature of modern affairs. The minority has the power and uses it to satisfy its social wants as much as possible at the expense of the collectivity. In and of themselves nothing can be said against these heightened social wants: they denote progress; the fault is only that their satisfaction falls mainly to the lot of the property classes, while all others should share them. A further evil lies in that often the administration is not the best, and yet is expensive. The officials often are inadequate; they are not sufficiently equipped for the many-sided demands made upon them, demands that often presuppose thorough knowledge. The members of Aldermanic Boards have generally so much to do and to attend to in their own private affairs that they are unable to make the sacrifices demanded for the full exercise of these public duties. Often are these posts used for the promotion of private interests, to the serious injury of those of the community. The results fall upon the taxpayers. Modern society cannot think of undertaking a thorough change in these conditions. It is powerless and helpless. It would have to remove itself, and that, of course, it will not. Whatever the manner in which taxes be imposed, dissatisfaction increases steadily. In a few decades, most of our municipalities will be unable to satisfy their needs under their present form of administration and of raising revenues. On the municipal as well as on the national field, the need of a radical change is manifest: it is upon the municipalities that the largest social demands are made: it is society in nuce: it is the kernel from which, so soon as the will and the power shall be there, the social change will radiate. How can justice be done to-day, when private interests dominate and the interests of the commonweal are made subservient?

Such, in short, is the state of things in the nation and in the municipality. They are both but the reflection of the economic life of society.

* * * * *

The struggle for existence in our economic life grows daily more gigantic. The war of all against all has broken out with virulence; it is conducted pitilessly, often regardless of the weapon used. The well-known French expression: "ote-toi de la, que je m'y mette." (Get away, that I may step in) is carried out in practice with vigorous elbowings, cuffings, and pinchings. The weaker must yield to the stronger. Where physical strength—which here is the power of money, of property—does not suffice, the most cunning and unworthy means are resorted to. Lying, swindle, deceit, forgery, perjury—the very blackest crimes are often committed in order to reach the coveted object. As in this struggle for existence one individual transgresses against the other, the same happens with class against class, sex against sex, age against age. Profit is the sole regulator of human feelings; all other considerations must yield. Thousands upon thousands of workingmen and working-women are, the moment profit demands it, thrown upon the sidewalk, and, after their last savings have been spent, turned to public charity or forced to emigrate. Workingmen travel, so to speak, in herds from place to place, criss-cross across the country, and are regarded by "decent" society with all the more fear and horror, seeing that the continuity of their enforced idleness deteriorates their external appearance, and, as a consequence, demoralizes them internally. Decent society has no inkling of what it means to be forced, for months at a stretch, to be denied the simplest exigencies of order and cleanliness, to wander from place to place with a hungry stomach, and to earn, generally, nothing but ill-concealed fear and contempt, especially from those quarters that are the very props of this system. The families of these wretches suffer all along utmost distress—a distress that not infrequently drives the parents, out of desperation, to frightful crimes upon their own children and themselves. The last years have furnished numerous shocking instances of whole families falling a prey to murder and suicide. Let one instance do for many. The private correspondent, S——, in Berlin, 45 years of age, with a still handsome wife 39 years old, and a daughter of 12, is without work and starving. The wife decides, with the consent of her husband, to turn prostitute. The police gets wind thereof. The wife is placed under moral control. The family, overcome with shame and desperate, agree, all three, to poison themselves, and carry out their resolve on March 1, 1883.[160] A few days before, the leading circles of Berlin celebrated great court festivities at which hundreds of thousands were squandered.

Such are the shocking contrasts of modern society—and yet we live in "the best of all possible worlds." Berlin has since then often witnessed the holocaust of whole families due to material want. In 1894 the spectacle was frequent, to an extent that called forth general horror; nor are the instances few, reported from large and small towns within and without Germany. This murder and suicide of whole families is a phenomenon peculiar to modern times, and an eloquent sign of the sorry economic state that society is in.

This general want also drives women and girls in increasing numbers into the arms of prostitution. Demoralization and crime are heaped up, and assume the most manifold forms. The only thing that prospers is the jails, penitentiaries and so-called houses of correction, no longer able to accommodate the mass that is sent to them. The crimes of all sorts and their increase are intimately connected with the economic state of society—a fact, however, that the latter will not have. Like the ostrich, it sticks its head in the sand, to avoid having to admit the incriminating state of things, and it lies to the point of deceiving itself into the belief that the fault lies with the laziness of the workingmen, with their love of pleasure, and with their irreligiousness. This is a self-deception of the most dangerous, or a hypocrisy of the most repulsive, sort. The more unfavorable the state of society is for the majority, all the more numerous and serious are the crimes committed. The struggle for existence assumes its rudest and most violent aspect: it transfers man into conditions where each sees a mortal enemy in the other. The social bonds become looser every day.[161]

The ruling classes, who do not probe matters to the bottom, or do not like to, seek to meet the evil after their own fashion. If poverty and want, and, as a result therefrom, demoralization and crime increase, the source of the evil is not searched after, so that it may be stopped; no; the products of the conditions are punished. The more gigantic the evils grow, and the numbers of evil-doers multiply in proportion, proportionately severe penalties and persecutions are deemed necessary. It is sought to drive out the devil with Beelzebub. Prof. Haeckel also considers it proper to proceed against criminals with the severest punishments possible, and that capital punishment, in particular, be stringently applied.[162] By this stand the Professor places himself in sweet accord with the re-actionists of all shades, who otherwise are mortally opposed to him. Haeckel is of the opinion that incorrigible scape-graces must be uprooted like weeds that take from plants light, air and space. Had Haeckel turned his mind slightly toward social, instead of engaging it wholly with natural science, he would know that these criminals could, in most instances, be transformed into useful members of human society, provided society offered them the requisite conditions of existence. He would also find that the annihilation of individual criminals or the rendering of them harmless, prevents as little the commission of fresh crimes in society, as the removal of weeds on a field would prevent their returning if the roots and seeds are not likewise destroyed. Absolutely to prevent the forming of harmful organisms in Nature is a feat man never will be able to achieve but to so improve his own social system, a system produced by himself, that it may afford favorable conditions of life for all, and furnish to each equal freedom to unfold, to the end that they no longer need suffer hunger, or be driven to satisfy their desire for property, or their ambition at the expense of others—that is possible. Let the cause of the crimes be studied, and let that be removed; then will the crimes themselves be wiped out.[163]

Those who would remove crimes by removing the causes thereof, cannot, as a matter of course, sympathize with a plan of brutal suppression. They cannot prevent society from protecting itself after its own fashion against the criminals, whom it cannot allow a free hand; but we demand all the more urgently the radical reformation of society, i. e., the removal of the causes of crime.

The connection between social conditions, on the one hand, and evildoing and crimes, on the other, has been frequently established by statisticians and sociologists. One of the misdemeanors nearest at hand—one that, all Christian charitable tenets to the contrary notwithstanding, modern society regards as a misdemeanor—is begging, especially during hard times. On that subject, the statistics of the Kingdom of Saxony inform us that, in the measure in which the last industrial crisis increased—a crisis that began in Germany in 1890, and whose end is not yet in sight—the number of persons also increased who were punished for begging. In 1889, there were 8,566 persons punished for this crime in the Kingdom of Saxony; in 1890, there were 8,815; in 1891, there were 10,075; and in 1892 the figures rose to 13,120—quite an increase. Mass-impoverishment on one side, swelling affluence on the other—such is the sign-manual of our age. In Austria, in 1873, there was one pauper to every 724 persons; in 1882, to every 622 persons. Crimes and misdemeanors show similar tendency. In Austria-Hungary, in 1874, there were 308,605 persons sentenced in the criminal courts; in 1892, their number was 600,000. In the German Empire, in 1882, there were 329,968 persons sentenced for crimes and misdemeanors under the laws of the land; that is to say, to every 10,000 inhabitants of twelve years and over there were 103.2 criminals; in 1892, the number of criminals was 422,327, or 143.3—an increase of 39 per cent. Among the persons punished, there were, for crimes and misdemeanors against property:—

To Every 10,000 Inhabitants, 12 Years of Age Year. Total. and Over. 1882 169,334 53.0 1891 196,437 55.8

We think these figures speak volumes. They show how the deterioration of social conditions intensify and promote poverty, want, misdemeanors and crimes.

The basis of our social state is the capitalist system of production. On it modern society rests. All social, all political institutions are results and fruits of that system. It is the ground from which the whole social and political superstructure, together with its bright and dark sides, have sprung up. It influences and dominates the thoughts and feelings and actions of the people who live under it. Capital is the leading power in the State and in Society: the capitalist is the ruler of the propertyless, whose labor-power he buys for his use, and at a price, that, like all other merchandise, is governed by supply and demand and oscillates now above, then below the cost of reproduction. But the capitalist does not buy labor-power out of "sweet charity," in order to do a favor to the workingmen, although he often so pretends. He buys it for the purpose of obtaining surplus wealth from the labor of the workingmen, which he then pockets under the name of profit, interest, house and ground rent. This surplus wealth, squeezed out of the workingmen, and which in so far as the capitalist does not squander it in dissipation, crystallizes in his hands into more capital, puts him in a condition to steadily enlarge his plant, improve the process of production, and occupy increased labor forces. That, at the same time, enables him to step up before his weaker competitors, like a mailed knight before an unarmed pedestrian, and to destroy them. This unequal struggle between large and small capital spreads amain, and, as the cheapest labor-power, next to that of children and lads, woman plays therein a role of increasing importance. The result is the ever sharper division of a smaller minority of mighty capitalists and a mass of capital-less male and female lack-alls whose only resource is the daily sale of their labor-power. The middle class arrives hereby at a plight that grows ever graver. One field of industry after another, where small production still predominated, is seized and occupied to capitalist ends. The competition of capitalists among themselves compels them to explore ever newer fields of exploitation. Capital goes about "like a roaring lion, seeking whom it may devour." The smaller and weaker establishments are destroyed; if their owners fail to save themselves upon some new field—a feat that becomes ever harder and less possible—then they sink down into the class of the wage earners, or of Catilinarians. All efforts to prevent the downfall of handicraft and of the middle class by means of institutions and laws, borrowed from the lumber-room of the musty past, prove utterly ineffective. They may enable one or another to deceive himself on his actual condition; but soon the illusion vanishes under the heavy weight of facts. The process of absorption of the small by the large takes its course with all the power and pitilessness of a law of Nature, and the process is sensible to the feeling and the sight of all.

In the period between 1875-1882, the number of small industries decreased in Prussia by 39,655,[164] although the population increased in this period by about two million heads. The number of workmen employed in small industries sank, during that time, from 57.6 per cent., to 54.9 per cent. The industrial statistics for 1895 will furnish much more drastic figures. The development of large production stands in close relation to the development of steam machine and steam horse-power. And what is the picture presented by these? Prussia had:—

1878. 1893. Stationary steam boilers 32,411 53,024 + 63.6 per cent. Stationary steam engines 29,895 53,092 + 77.6 per cent. Movable machines 5,536 15,725 + 184 per cent.

The Kingdom of Saxony had:—

1861. 1891. Stationary steam engines 1,003 8,075 + 700 per cent. Horse-power 15,633 160,772 + 922 per cent.

In 1861, a steam engine in Saxony had, on an average, a 15.5 horse-power; in 1891, it had 19. All Germany had in 1878 about three million horse-power in operation in industry; in 1894, about five million. Austria had in 1873 in round figures 336,000 horse-power; in 1888, about 2,150,000. Steam power spreads daily, and stronger steam machines drive out weaker ones—large production drives out small. The fact is shown emphatically in the industries in which steam has become the general power, the brewery industry, for instance. In the German brewery tax department, exclusive of Bavaria, Wuertemburg, Baden and Alsace-Lorraine, there were:—

Breweries Industrially Year. in Operation. Operated. Output. 1873 13,561 10,927 19,654,900 hl. 1891-2 8,460 7,571 33,171,100 hl. ——— ——— ————— 5,101 3,356 13,516,200 hl. Decrease Decrease Increase = 38 per cent. = 31.1 per cent. = 68.8 per cent.

The breweries in general, this table shows, had decreased during this period 38 per cent., the industrially operated ones 31.1 per cent.; the output, however, had increased 68.8 per cent. The giant concerns increased at the expense of the middle and small ones. The identical development is going on in all countries of civilization, in all industries capitalistically operated. Let us now take up the brandy distilleries. In all the eight provinces of Prussia, there were in operation:—[165]

Consumed in Distillery, Year. Distilleries. Brandy (Double Quintal). 1831 13,806 1,736,458 5,418,217 1886-87 5,814 2,518,478 24,310,196 ——— ————- ————— 7,992 782,020 18,891,979 Decrease Decrease Increase = 38 per cent. = 31.1 per cent. = 68 per cent.

Similar results are revealed in the coal and the mineral mining industries of the German Empire. In the former, the number of leading concerns—623 in number between the years 1871-1875—dropped to 406 in 1889, but the output increased simultaneously from 34,485,400 tons to 67,342,200 tons, and the average number of employees rose from 172,074 to 239,954. In the latter, the average number of leading establishments between 1871-1875, was 3,034, with an average force of 277,878 hands, that turned out 51,056,900 tons; in 1889, the number of leading establishments had dropped to 1,962, while the average force had risen to 368,896 hands, and the output to 99,414,100 tons.[166] We see that in the coal mine industry the number of concerns decreased during that period 35 per cent., while the number of employees rose 40 per cent., and production as much as 95.2 per cent. Similarly in the mineral mining industry. Here the number of establishments decreased 35.3 per cent., while the number of workingmen employed rose 33 per cent., and production 94.7 per cent. A smaller but much richer number of employers now confronted a greatly swollen number of proletarians. Nor does this technical revolution proceed in industry alone: it is also going on in the department of transportation and communication. German commerce had upon the seas:—

Sailing Year. Vessels. Tonnage. Crews. 1871 4,372 900,361 34,739 1893 2,742 725,182 17,522 ——- ———- ——— 1,630 175,179 17,217 Decrease. Decrease. Decrease.

Sail navigation, we see, declines perceptibly, but in so far as it continues to exist, the tonnage of vessels increases, and the force of the crews decreases. In 1871, there came to every one sailing vessel 205.9 tons and 7.9 crew; in 1893, however, the average tonnage per sailing vessel was 271.7 and only a crew 6.4 strong. A different picture is offered by the German ocean steamship navigation. Germany had:—

Year. Steamers. Tonnage. Crews. 1871 147 81,994 4,736 1893 986 786,397 24,113 —- ———- ——— Increase 839 704,403 19,377

We see that, not only did the number of steamers rise considerably, but that their tonnage increased still more; on the other hand, the force of the crews had relatively decreased. In 1871, steamers had on an average a 558 tonnage, with a 32.1 crew; in 1893 they had a 797.5 tonnage and only a 24.5 crew. It is an economic law that the number of workingmen decreases everywhere with the concentration of industry, while, relatively to the whole population, wealth concentrates in ever fewer hands, and the number of employers, rendered unable to hold their own and driven into bankruptcy by the process of concentration, mounts ever higher.

In the eight old provinces of Prussia, the population increased 42 per cent. during 1853-1890. But the incomes in the several grades rose in the following rates:—[167]

Incomes. Increased Up to 3,000 marks 42 per cent. 3,000— 36,000 marks 333 per cent. 36,000— 60,000 marks 590 per cent. 60,000—120,000 marks 835 per cent. Over 120,000 marks 942 per cent.

The number of incomes up to 3,000 marks increased exactly with the population; it would, however, have lagged behind it if, within the period of 1853-1890, there had not been an extraordinary increase of national, State, municipal and private officials, the large majority of whose incomes falls below 3,000 marks. On the other hand, the number of large incomes has risen beyond all proportion, although, during the period under consideration, there was not yet any provision in Prussia making the correct estimate of incomes obligatory. This was introduced in 1891. The actual increase of incomes was, accordingly, much larger than the figures indicate. As stated before, the concentration of wealth, on the one side, is paralleled with mass-proletarianization, on the other, and also with swelling figures of bankruptcy. During the period of 1880-1889, the number of bankruptcy cases, adjudicated by law, averaged, in Germany, 4,885 a year; it rose to 5,908 in 1890; to 7,234 in 1891; and to 7,358 in 1892. These figures do not include the large number of bankruptcies that did not reach the courts, the assets not being large enough to cover the costs; neither are included among them those that were settled out of court between the debtors and their creditors.

The same picture that is presented by the economic development of Germany is presented by that of all industrial countries of the world. All nations of civilization are endeavoring to become industrial States. They wish to produce, not merely for the satisfaction of their own domestic wants, but also for exportation. Hence the absolute propriety of no longer speaking of "national" but of "international" economy. It is the world's market that now regulates the price of numberless products of industry and agriculture, and that controls the social position of nations. The productive domain, that, in the near future, will dominate the world's market is that of the United States—a quarter from which is now proceeding the principal impetus toward revolutionizing the relations of the world's market, and, along therewith, all bourgeois society. According to the census of 1890, the capital invested in industry in the United States has risen to 6,524 million dollars, as against 2,790 million in 1880, an increase of 136 per cent. The value of the industrial products rose during that period from 5,369 million dollars to 9,370 million, or 75 per cent. in round figures, while the population increased only 25 per cent.[168] The United States has reached a point of development where it must export a large mass of products in order to be able to continue producing in sufficient quantities. Instead of importing articles of industry from Europe, these will henceforth be exported in large volumes, thereby upsetting commercial relations everywhere. What pass has been reached there is indicated by the mammoth struggles between Capital and Labor, by the distress of the masses that has lasted years, and by the colossal increase of bankruptcy during the last crisis. In 1879, 1880 and 1881 the sum absorbed in bankruptcies ran up to 82 million dollars in round figures; in 1890 the amount was 190 million dollars, and in 1891 it rose to 331 million dollars. An instance will illustrate the gigantic measure of the concentration of capital in that country. In 1870, there were in the United States 2,819 woolen mills, in which 96 million dollars were invested as capital; in 1890 the number of these mills had sunk to 1,312, but the capital invested had risen to 136 million. In 1870, on an average, $34,000 sufficed to establish a woolen mill; in 1890, not less than $102,000 was requisite. The increased demands upon capital forces the building of stock corporations, which, in turn, promote the concentration still more. Where the powers of a single capitalist do not suffice, several of them join; they appoint technical overseers, who are well paid, and they pocket, in the form of dividends, the profits which the workingmen must raise. The restlessness of industry reaches its classic form in the stock corporation, which demonstrates how useless the person of the capitalist has become as a leader of industry.

Seeing that this process of development and concentration is proceeding equally in all leading countries, the inevitable results of the anarchic method of production is "over-production," the stoppage of trade, the crisis.

Accordingly, the crisis is a consequence of the absence of any means whatever whereby at any time the actual demand for certain goods can be gauged and controlled. There is no power in bourgeois society able to regulate production as a whole; the customers are spread over too vast an area; then also, their purchasing power, upon which depends their power of consumption, is affected by a number of causes, beyond the control of the individual producer. Moreover, along with each individual producer, are a number of others, whose productive powers and actual yield also are unknown to him. Each strives, with all the means at his command—cheap prices, advertisements, long credit, drummers, also secret and crafty detraction of the quality of the goods of his competitor, the last of which is a measure that flourishes particularly at critical moments—to drive all other competitors from the field. Production is wholly left to accident and to the judgment of individuals. Accident often is more unfavorable than otherwise. Every capitalist must produce a certain quantity of goods, in order that he may exist; he is, however, driven to increase his output, partly because his increase of revenues depends upon that, partly also because upon that depend his prospects of being able to overcome his competitors, and keep the field all to himself. For a while, the output is safe; the circumstance tends to expansion and increased production. But prosperous times do not tempt one capitalist alone; they tempt them all. Thus production rises far above demand, and suddenly the market is found overstocked. Sales stop; prices fall; and production is curtailed. The curtailment of production in any one branch implies a diminished demand for workingmen, the lowering of wages and a retrenchment of consumption in the ranks of labor. A further stoppage of production and business in other departments is the necessary consequence. Small producers of all sorts—trademen, saloonkeepers, bakers, butchers, etc.,—whose customers are chiefly workingmen, lose the profitable sale of their goods and likewise land in distress.

The way in which such a crisis works appears from a census on the unemployed which the Social Democratic Party of Hamburg undertook on February 14, 1894. Of 53,756 workingmen who were interrogated, and of whom 34,647 were married, with an aggregate family dependence of 138,851, there were 18,422 who, during the last year, had been idle a total of 191,013 weeks; 5,084 persons had been idle from 1 to 5 weeks; 8,741 from 6 to 10 weeks; 1,446 from 11 to 15 weeks; 984 from 16 to 20 weeks; 2,167 more than 20 weeks. These are workingmen, who wished to work, but who, in this best of all possible worlds, could find no work. The sorry plight of these people may be imagined.

Again, one industry furnishes its raw material to another; one depends upon the other; it follows that all must suffer and pay for the blows that fall upon any. The circle of participants and sufferers spreads ever wider. A number of obligations, assumed in the hope of a long continuance of prosperity, cannot be met, and thus new fuel is added to the conflagration of the crisis, whose flames rise higher from month to month. An enormous mass of stored-up goods, tools, machinery, becomes almost worthless. The goods are got rid of at great sacrifices. Not only their proprietor is thereby ruined, but also dozens of others who are thereby likewise forced to give up their goods under cost. During the crisis itself, the method of production is all along improved with the view of meeting future competition; but this only prepares the ground for new and still worse crises. After the crisis has lasted years, after the surplusage of goods has been gradually done away with through sales at ruinous prices, through retrenchment of production, and through the destruction of smaller concerns, society slowly begins to recover again. Demand rises, and production follows suit—slowly at first and cautious, but, with the continuance of prosperity, the old vertigo sets in anew. Everyone is anxious to recover what he lost, and expects to be under cover before the next crisis breaks in. Nevertheless, seeing that all capitalists foster the identical thought, and that each one improves his plant so as to head off the others, the catastrophe is soon brought on again and with all the more fatal effect. Innumerable establishments rise and fall like balls at a game, and out of such continuous ups and downs flows the wretched state of things that is witnessed at all crises. These crises crowd upon one another in the measure that large production increases, and the competitive struggle—not between individuals only, but between whole nations—becomes sharper. The scampering for customers, on a small scale, and for markets on a large one, gains in fierceness, and ends finally in great losses. Goods and implements are heaped mountain high, yet the masses of the people suffer hunger and want.

The autumn of the year 1890 brought new proof of the correctness of this outline. After a long series of years of business depression, during which, however, large capitalist development was steadily progressing, an improvement in our economic life set in during 1887-8, stimulated in no slight degree by the extensive changes introduced in our army and navy systems. The upward movement continued during 1889 and up into the first quarter of 1890. During this period, a number of new establishments began to crop up everywhere in several fields of industry; a large number of others were enlarged and improved to the highest point of technical perfection, and their capacity greatly increased. In the same measure that this large capitalist development progressed, a larger and ever larger number of establishments passed from the hands of individual capitalists into stock corporations—a change that ever is more or less connected with an increase of production. The new issues, that, as a result of these combinations and due also to the increase of the public debt, were contracted in the international money market, ran up in 1887 to about 4,000 million marks; in 1888, to 5,500 million; and in 1889, to even 7,000 million. On the other hand, the capitalists of all countries were endeavoring to "regulate" prices and production by means of national and international agreements. Rings and Trusts sprang up like mushrooms over night. The majority, often all the capitalists concerned in the more important branches of production, formed syndicates, by means of which prices were fixed, and production was to be regulated by the light of accurate statistical information. Over-production was thus to be prevented. A marvelous monopolization of industry, such as had never been seen, was thus achieved in the interest of the capitalists and at the expense of the workingmen, and of the consumers in general. For a while it seemed as if capital had come into possession of the means that enabled it to control the market in all directions, to the injury of the public and to its own greater glory. But appearances deceived. The laws of capitalist production proved themselves stronger than the shrewdest representatives of the system who imagined they held in their hands the power to regulate it. The crisis set in. One of the largest international business houses of England fell and involved a number of others in its fall. All exchanges and markets—of London, Paris, Vienna and Berlin, as far as St. Petersburg, New York and Calcutta—shook and trembled. It had again been shown that the profoundest calculations prove deceptive, and that capitalist society cannot escape its fate.

All this notwithstanding, capitalism proceeds on its course: it can be no other than it is. By means of the forms that its course dictates, it throws all the laws of capitalist economics overboard. "Free competition," the Alpha and Omega of bourgeois society, is to bring the fittest to the top of the enterprises; but the stock corporation removes all individuality, and places the crown upon that combination that has the longest purse and the strongest grip. The syndicates, Trusts and rings carry the point still further. Whole branches of industry are monopolized; the individual capitalist becomes but a pliant link in a chain, held by a capitalist committee. A handful of monopolists set themselves up as lords of the world and dictate to it the price of goods, to the workingmen their wages and conditions of life.

The whole course of this development brings out how utterly superfluous the individual capitalist has become, and that production, conducted upon a national and international scale, is the goal toward which society steers—with this difference, that, in the end, this organized production will redound to the benefit, not of a class, but of the collectivity.

The economic revolution just sketched, and which is driving bourgeois society with great swiftness to its apogee, becomes more pointed from year to year. While Europe finds itself pressed more and more in its foreign markets, and finally on its own territory, by the competition of the United States, latterly enemies have risen in the East also, rendering still more critical the plight of Europe, and at the same time threatening the United States also. This danger proceeds from the progress of English India toward becoming a great agricultural and industrial State—a progress that, in the first place, looks to the meeting of the wants of India's own two hundred million strong population, and, in the second place, develops into a mortal enemy of English and German industry in particular. And still another industrial State is beginning to rise in the East—Japan. According to the "Kreuzzeitung" of February 20, 1895, "during the last ten years, Japan has imported from Europe the best perfected machinery for setting up industrial plants, especially in cotton spinning. In 1889, she had only 35,000 spindles; now she has over 380,000. In 1889, Japan imported 31 million pounds of raw cotton; in 1891, she imported 67 million. She is steadily decreasing her importations of manufactured articles, and increasing her importations of raw material, which she then retransports in the shape of manufactures. During the last year Hongkong, a European colony, bought over two million marks of Japanese cotton goods. The Japanese are providing their own markets with goods that formerly were imported from Europe and the United States. They are also exporting to Oriental markets, that were formerly provided from western sources. They are exporting matches and soap; they are manufacturing clothing, felt hats and hosiery; they have glass-blowing establishments, breweries, tileries, tan-yards and rope-walks."

The further expansion of Japan's industry steadily reduces importations from Europe and the United States, and simultaneously places it in condition to turn up in the world's market as a competitor. Should China also, as a result of the Japanese-Chinese war, be compelled to open her immense territory to European culture, then, in view of the great adaptability and marvelous unpretentiousness of the Chinese workingman, another competitive power will have risen, more dangerous than any that the world's market has yet had to reckon with. Truly, the future of bourgeois society is threatened from all sides with grave dangers, and there is no way to escape them.

Thus the crisis becomes permanent and international. It is a result of all the markets being overstocked with goods. And yet, still more could be produced; but the large majority of people suffer want in the necessaries of life because they have no income wherewith to satisfy their wants by purchase. They lack clothing, underwear, furniture, homes, food for the body and mind, and means of enjoyment, all of which they could consume in large quantities. But all that does not exist to them. Hundreds of thousands of workingmen are even thrown upon the sidewalk, and rendered wholly unable to consume because their labor-power has become "superfluous" to the capitalists. Is it not obvious that our social system suffers of serious ailments? How could there be any "over-production" when there is no lack of capacity to consume, i. e., of wants that crave satisfaction? Obviously, it is not production, in and of itself, that breeds these unhallowed conditions and contradictions: it is the system under which production is carried on, and the product is distributed.

* * * * *

In human society, all its members are bound to one another by a thousand threads; and these threads are all the more numerous in proportion to a people's grade of culture. If disturbances set in, they are forthwith felt by all. Disturbances in production affect distribution and consumption; and vice versa. The feature of capitalist production is the concentration of property into ever fewer hands and into ever larger establishments. In distribution, on the contrary, an opposite current is noticeable. Whoever, due to the destructive effect of competition, is stricken from the list of independent producers, seeks, in nine cases out of ten, to squeeze himself as a dealer between the producer and the consumer, and thus to earn his livelihood.

Hence the striking phenomenon of the increase of the middleman—dealers, shopkeepers, hucksters, commissioners, brokers, agents, saloonkeepers, etc. Most of these, among whom women are strongly represented, lead a life of worries and a needy existence. Many are compelled, in order to keep their heads above water, to speculate upon the lowest passions of man and to promote them in all manner of ways. Hence the marvelous swing of the most repulsive advertisements, particularly in all matters the object of which is the gratification of sexual pleasures.

It is undeniable, and, viewed from a higher viewpoint, it is also cheering, that the current for a greater enjoyment of life runs deep in modern society. Man begins to understand that, in order to be human, a life worthy of human beings is requisite, and the feeling is expressed in such form as corresponds with the respective conceptions of the enjoyment of life. As far as the distribution of its wealth is concerned, society has become much more aristocratic than at any previous period. Between the richest and the poorest, the chasm is wider to-day than ever before. On the other hand, with regard to its ideas and laws, society has become more democratic.[169] Hence the masses strive after greater equality; and, seeing that in their ignorance they know not yet the path by which to attain their wishes, they seek equality in the imitation of the upper classes by furnishing themselves with whatever pleasures are within their reach. All possible artificial means are resorted to in order to exploit this tendency; the consequences are often serious. The gratification of a justified desire thus leads in a number of cases to wrong paths, often to crime; and society intervenes in its own way, without thereby improving matters in the least.

The increasing mass of the middlemen draws many evils in its wake. Although this class toils arduously and works under the load of heavy cares, the majority are parasites, they are unproductively active, and they live upon the labors of others, just the same as the capitalist class. Higher prices is the inevitable consequence of this industry. Food and other goods rise in price in such manner that they often cost twice or many times as much as the producer received for them.[170] If it is thought unadvisable or impossible to materially raise the price of the goods, lest consumption decline, they are artificially deteriorated, and recourse is had to adulteration of food, and to false weights and measures, in order to make the requisite profits. The chemist Chevalier reports that he knows, among the several adulterations of food, 32 for coffee, 30 for wine, 28 for chocolate, 24 for meal, 23 for brandy, 20 for bread, 19 for milk, 10 for butter, 9 for olive oil, 6 for sugar, etc. The Chamber of Commerce of Wesel reported in 1870 that an extensive system of swindle was practiced in the shops in the sale of ready-weighed articles: for 1 pound, 24 or 26 pennyweights were given, and in that way twice as much was gained as the difference in the price. Workingmen and small traders who get their goods on credit and who must, accordingly, submit, even when the fraud is obvious, fare worst of all. Grave abuses are also perpetrated in bakeries. Swindling and cheating are inseparable from our modern conditions, and certain government institutions, such as high indirect taxes, are direct incentives thereto. The laws against the adulteration of food alter matters but little. The struggle for existence compels the swindlers to resort to ever shrewder means, nor is there any thorough and strict inspection. Leading and influential circles of our ruling classes are even interested in the system of swindle. Under the pretext that, in order to discover adulterations a more comprehensive and more expensive administrative apparatus is required, and that "legitimate business" would suffer thereby, almost all inspection, worthy of the name, is lamed. If, however, laws and measures of inspection do actually intervene, they affect a considerable rise in the price of the unadulterated products, seeing that the lower price was made possible only by adulteration.

With the view of avoiding these evils of trade, evils that, as ever and everywhere, are hardest on the masses, "Consumers' Associations" have been set up. In Germany, the "Consumers' Association" plan, especially among the military and civil service employees, reaches such a point that numerous business houses have been ruined, and many are not far from the same fate. These Associations demonstrate the superfluousness of trade in a differently organized society.[171] In that consists their principal merit. The material advantages are not great for the members; neither are the facilities that they offer enough to enable the members to discover any material improvement in their condition. Not infrequently is their administration poor, and the members must pay for it. In the hands of capitalists, these Associations even become an additional means to chain the workingman to the factory, and they are used as weapons to depress wages. The founding of these "Consumers' Associations" is, however, a symptom that the evils of trade and at least the superfluousness of the middlemen have been realized in wide circles. Society will reach that point of organization at which trade becomes wholly superfluous; the product will reach the consumer without the intervention of any middlemen other than those who attend to its transportation from place to place, and who are in the service of society. A natural demand, that flows from the collective procurement of food, is its collective preparation for the table upon a large scale, whereby a further and enormous saving would be made of energy, space, material and all manner of expenditures.

* * * * *

The economic revolution in industry and transportation has spread to agriculture also, and in no slight degree. Commercial and industrial crises are felt in the country as well. Many relatives of families located in the country are partially or even wholly engaged in industrial establishments in cities, and this sort of occupation is becoming more and more common because the large farmers find it convenient to convert on their own farms a considerable portion of their produce. They thereby save the high cost of transporting the raw product—potatoes that are used for spirits, beets for sugar, grain for flour or brandy or beer. Furthermore, they have on their own farms cheaper and more willing labor than can be got in the city, or in industrial districts. Factories and rent are considerably cheaper, taxes and licenses lower, seeing that, to a certain extent, the landed proprietors are themselves lawgivers and law officers: from their midst numerous representatives are sent to the Reichstag: not infrequently they also control the local administration and the police department. These are ample reasons for the phenomenon of increasing numbers of funnel-pipes in the country. Agriculture and industry step into ever closer interrelation with each other—an advantage that accrues mainly to the large landed estates.

The point of capitalist development reached in Germany also by agriculture has partially called forth conditions similar to those found in England and the United States. As with the small and middle class industries, so likewise with the small and middle class farms, they are swallowed up by the large. A number of circumstances render the life of the small and middle class farmer ever harder, and ripen him for absorption by the large fellow.

No longer do the one-time conditions, as they were still known a few decades ago, prevail in the country. Modern culture now pervades the country in the remotest corners. Contrary to its own purpose, militarism exercises a certain revolutionary influence. The enormous increase of the standing army weighs, in so far as the blood-tax is concerned, heaviest of all upon the country districts. The degeneration of industrial and city life compels the drawing of by far the larger portion of soldiers from the rural population. When the farmer's son, the day laborer, or the servant returns after two or three years from the atmosphere of the city and the barracks, an atmosphere not exactly impregnated with high moral principles;—when he returns as the carrier and spreader of venereal diseases, he has also become acquainted with a mass of new views and wants whose gratification he is not inclined to discontinue. Accordingly, he makes larger demands upon life, and wants higher wages; his frugality of old went to pieces in the city. Transportation, ever more extended and improved, also contributes toward the increase of wants in the country. Through intercourse with the city, the rustic becomes acquainted with the world from an entirely new and more seductive side: he is seized with new ideas: he learns of the wants of civilization, thitherto unknown to him. All that renders him discontented with his lot. On top of that, the increasing demands of the State, the province, the municipality hit both farmer and farmhand, and make them still more rebellious.

True enough, many farm products have greatly risen in value during this period, but not in even measure with the taxes and the cost of living. On the other hand, transmarine competition in food materially contributes toward reducing prices: this reduces incomes: the same can be counterbalanced only by improved management: and nine-tenths of the farmers lack the means thereto. Moreover, the farmer does not get for his product the price paid by the city: he has to deal with the middlemen: and these hold him in their clutches. The broker or dealer, who at given seasons traverses the country and, as a rule, himself sells to other middlemen, wants to make his profits: the gathering of many small quantities gives him much more trouble than a large invoice from a single large holder: the small farmer receives, as a consequence, less for his goods than the large farmer. Moreover, the quality of the products from the small farmer is inferior: the primitive methods that are there generally pursued have that effect: and that again compels the small farmer to submit to lower prices. Again, the farm owner or tenant can often not afford to wait until the price of his goods rises. He has payments to meet—rent, interest, taxes; he has loans to cancel and debts to settle with the broker and his hands. These liabilities are due on fixed dates: he must sell however unfavorable the moment. In order to improve his land, to provide for co-heirs, children, etc., the farmer has contracted a mortgage: he has no choice of creditor: thus his plight is rendered all the worse. High interest and stated payments of arrears give him hard blows. An unfavorable crop, or a false calculation on the proper crop, for which he expected a high price, carry him to the very brink of ruin. Often the purchaser of the crop and the mortgagee are one and the same person. The farmers of whole villages and districts thus find themselves at the mercy of a few creditors. The farmers of hops, wine and tobacco in Southern Germany; the truck farmers on the Rhine; the small farmers in Central Germany—all are in that plight. The mortgagee sucks them dry; he leaves them, apparent owners of a field, that, in point of fact, is theirs no longer. The capitalist vampire often finds it more profitable to farm in this way than, by seizing the land itself and selling it, or himself doing the farming. Thus many thousand farmers are carried on the registers as proprietors, who, in fact, are no longer such. Thus, again, many a large farmer—unskilled in his trade, or visited by misfortune, or who came into possession under unfavorable circumstances—also falls a prey to the executioner's axe of the capitalist. The capitalist becomes lord of the land; with the view of making double gains he goes into the business of "butchering estates:" he parcels out the domain because he can thereby get a larger price than if he sold it in lump: then also he has better prospects of plying his usurious trade if the proprietors are many and small holders. It is well known that city houses with many small apartments yield the largest rent. A number of small holders join and buy a portion of the parcelled-out estate: the capitalist benefactor is ready at hand to pass larger tracts over to them on a small cash payment, securing the rest by mortgage bearing good interest. This is the milk in the cocoanut. If the small holder has luck and he succeeds, by utmost exertion, to extract a tolerable sum from the land, or to obtain an exceptionally cheap loan, then he can save himself; otherwise he fares as shown above.

If a few heads of cattle die on the hands of the farm-owner or tenant, a serious misfortune has befallen him; if he has a daughter who marries, her outfit augments his debts, besides his losing a cheap labor-power; if a son marries, the youngster wants a piece of land or its equivalent in money. Often this farmer must neglect necessary improvements: if his cattle and household do not furnish him with sufficient manure—a not unusual circumstance—then the yield of the farm declines, because its owner cannot buy fertilizers: often he lacks the means to obtain better seed. The profitable application of machinery is denied him: a rotation of crops, in keeping with the chemical composition of his farm, is often not to be thought of. As little can he turn to profit the advantages that science and experience offer him in the conduct of his domestic animals: the want of proper food, the want of proper stabling and attention, the want of all other means and appliances prevent him. Innumerable, accordingly, are the causes that bear down upon the small and middle class farmer, drive him into debt, and his head into the noose of the capitalist or the large holder.

The large landholders are generally intent upon buying up the small holdings, and thereby "rounding up" their estates. The large capitalist magnates have a predilection for investments in land, this being the safest form of property, one, moreover, that, with an increasing population, rises in value without effort on the part of the owners. England furnishes the most striking instance of this particular increase of value. Although due to international competition in agricultural products and cattle-raising, the yield of the land decreased during the last decades, nevertheless, seeing that in Scotland two million acres were converted into hunting grounds, that in Ireland four million acres lie almost waste, that in England the area of agriculture declined from 19,153,900 acres in 1831, to 15,651,605 in 1880, a loss of 3,484,385 acres, which have been converted into meadow lands, rent increased considerably. The aggregate rent from country estates amounted, in pounds sterling, to:—

Countries. 1857. 1875. 1880. Increase. England and Wales 41,177,200 50,125,000 52,179,381 11,002,181 Scotland 5,932,000 7,493,000 7,776,919 1,844,919 Ireland 8,747,000 9,293,000 10,543,000 1,796,700 ————— ————— ————— ————— Total 55,856,200 67,911,000 70,499,300 14,643,800

Accordingly, an increase of 26.2 per cent. within 23 years, and that without any effort on the part of the owners. Although, since 1880, due to the ever sharper international competition in food, the agricultural conditions of England and Ireland have hardly improved, the large English landlords have not yet ventured upon such large demands upon the population as have the continental, the German large landlords in particular. England knows no agricultural tariffs; and the demand for a minimum price, fixed by government, of such nature that they have been styled "price raisers" and as the large landlords of the East Elbe region together with their train-bands in the German Reichstag are insisting on at the cost of the propertyless classes, would raise in England a storm of indignation.

According to the agricultural statistics gathered in Germany on June 2, 1882, the farms fell into the following categories according to size:—

Percentage of Area. Farms. Total Farms. Under 1 hectare 2,323,316 44.03 1 to 5 hectares 1,719,922 32.54 5 to 10 hectares 554,174 10.50 10 to 20 hectares 372,431 7.06 20 to 50 hectares 239,887 4.50 50 to 100 hectares 41,623 0.80 100 to 200 hectares 11,033 0.21 200 to 500 hectares 9,814 0.18 500 to 1,000 hectares 3,629 0.07 1,000 hectares 515 0.01 ————- ——- Total 5,276,344 99.90

According to Koppe, a minimum of 6 hectares are requisite in Northern Germany for a farmer's family to barely beat itself through; in order to live in tolerable circumstances, 15 to 20 hectares are requisite. In the fertile districts of Southern Germany, 3 to 4 hectares are considered good ground to support a peasant family on. This minimum is reached in Germany by not four million farms, and only about 6 per cent. of the farmers have holdings large enough to enable them to get along in comfort. Not less than 3,222,270 farmers conduct industrial or commercial pursuits besides agriculture. It is a characteristic feature of the lands under cultivation that the farms of less than 50 hectares—5,200,000 in all—contained only 3,747,677 hectares of grain lands, whereas the farms of more than 50 hectares—66,000 in round figures—contained 9,636,246 hectares. One and a quarter per cent. of the farms contained 2 1/2 times more grain land than the other 98-3/4 per cent. put together.

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