Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER III: Louis Blanc and the Organization of Labour - Socialistic Fallacies
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CHAPTER III: Louis Blanc and the Organization of Labour - Yves Guyot, Socialistic Fallacies 
Socialistic Fallacies (London: Cope and Fenwick, 1910).
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Louis Blanc and the Organization of Labour
Louis Blanc and the organisation of Labour—“To live working or to die fighting”—The instrument of Labour and the weaver of Lyons—“The State as banker of the poor”—Social workshops—Solidarity in the workshops and of the workshops—Suppression of credit and of trade—Down with competition—The ruin of England—“You lose the right to speak of God”—The family and heredity—Labour as a point of honour.
Saint Simon had abandoned the principle of equal rights for all, proclaimed by the Revolution of 1789, and had returned to the policy of privilege by wishing to make of the industrials an order which paid taxes, but should have a monopoly of power. The Socialists initiated class politics by opposing the workmen to the industrial chiefs.
Louis BlanC's “Organisation du Travail” was published in 1839. He conjured up the motto of the insurgents of Lyons: “To live working or to die fighting.” This antithesis, if it proved the bravado of these wretches, also proved their ignorance, for insurrection has never yet provided workmen with work. Louis Blanc added: “What is wanting to the workmen is the instruments of their labour,” thus proving that he did not know that the weavers of Lyons were the owners of their frames. He considered that the State ought to supply the workman with his instruments of labour and called it the “banker of the poor.” He coolly demanded that the State should constitute “Social workshops, destined gradually and without shock, to supersede the workshops of individuals; they were to be regulated by rules which realised the principle of association and had the force, form and power of law. Once founded and set in motion, the social workshop would be self-sufficing and would be dependent solely on its own principles. The associated workers would freely choose directors and managers after the first year, they would effect the division of profits among themselves, and would devote themselves to the means of increasing the enterprise they had commenced.” “From the solidarity of all the workers in the same workshop,” he concludes, “to the solidarity of the workshops in the same industries. By killing competition we should stifle the evils which it engenders.” “Who says machinery says monopoly.” In Louis BlanC's system there are to be no more patents for inventions; the inventor is to be rewarded by the State, and his discovery placed at the service of all. There is to be no more trade, and credit is to be nothing more than a means of supplying workmen with the instruments of labour.
He enters into few details of this organisation, for the excellent reason that he only conceives it in an extremely vague manner, but he is angry because it provokes criticism. He fails to understand why it should be thought unnatural that the State should employ a portion of its revenue in creating competition with private industry, and innocently thinks that this is a fair system and does not involve the slightest degree of spoliation. He declaims against the use of machinery as causing the lowering of wages. “Out of individualism there issues competition, out of competition the instability and inadequacy of wages.” Under the empire of competition, labour produces a generation which is decrepit, atrophied, gangrened, and rotten. Not only does it produce these effects upon the workmen but it ruins small industries for the benefit of greater ones, and is a cause of the ruin of the middle-class. It encourages over production and is condemned by the example of England. “England's atonement,” he cries, “is now complete. Where to day is her power? The empire of the sea is slipping from her,” etc., etc.
In a reply to his critics, Louis Blanc shows the method which he employs. “Capitalists and workmen are not equally necessary. If the latter are worse treated than the former, this follows from the fact that all the ideas of justice and of truth have been inverted, and that civilisation has travelled the wrong way. If you say that things could not have fallen out otherwise, you lose the right to speak of God.” He did not stop to enquire how it was that God allowed “all the ideas of justice and of truth to be inverted.” He also said “the family is derived from God, heredity from man.” As he would have found great difficulty in explaining this conception, he confined himself to stating it. If asked what was the motive power of the workers he would answer “the point of honour of labour,” and would declare that a post should be set up in every workshop, bearing the inscription: “He who does not work is a thief.” This would suffice to suppress idleness.