Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER II: The Prophets of Catastrophes - Socialistic Fallacies
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CHAPTER II: The Prophets of “Catastrophes” - Yves Guyot, Socialistic Fallacies 
Socialistic Fallacies (London: Cope and Fenwick, 1910).
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The Prophets of “Catastrophes“
The catastrophe in England—The Labour Party fail to understand the class war—Equivocation at the Stuttgart Congress—Bebel's “grand symphony”—Marx' and Engels' visions of catastrophe—Engels' prophecy for 1898—“The inherent principles of Marxism” and M. Georges Sorel—The myths—The final Socialist judgment and the Christian millennium.
Karl Marx and Engels and their followers prove that, while invoking “natural necessity” they all foresee a tempestuous social revolution, the end of the capitalist world blazing forth in a general conflagration amid thunder and lightning.
In the preface to the edition of “Das Kapital” published in 1867, Karl Marx says that the progress of the social upheaval is visible in England to all eyes. And in 1875, despite the experience of the Commune, he says in a note at the end of the French edition that England will be the centre of the explosion. Yet all the official Continental Socialists unite in declaring that the English do not understand the class war, and persist in spite of the fact that five and twenty members of trade unions, attached to the Labour Party, only gained admission to the Stuttgart Congress by equivocating. The English workmen remind themselves that if some of their interests are opposed to those of their employers, there are others more numerous which they have in common. M. Vandervelde said that every time the workmen fight for higher wages, they apply the principle of the class war, and it was decided not to exclude these refractory recruits.1
It is twenty years since Wolmar rallied Bebel upon his predictions of a great European war, at the end of which the nations, disgusted at the butchery and ruined by universal bankruptcy, would take their destinies in their hands, and “in this grand symphony, the social democracy would play the first violin.”
“Since 1845,” says Werner Sombart, “Marx and Engels have unceasingly dreamed of revolutions, of real revolutions rising to fever heat, and have predicted their approaching explosion. This can only follow from an analysis of the situation which is wanting in realism, and from an erroneous appreciation of political, economic and social forces.” These words were written in 1886, and in a letter to Paul Lafargue, dated in 1892, Engels fixed 1898 as the time when the Socialist party would possess itself of power in Germany.
Karl Marx and Engels have therefore always been in contradiction with their own assertion of “natural necessity,” at one time by requiring the State to set obstacles in its way by means of labour legislation, at another by dreaming of insurrections, revolutions and dramatic catastrophes. Their followers continue to entertain the same chimæras, some as a means of attracting recruits and of intimidating their opponents, others with the artlessness of believers in a millennium. M. Gabriel Deville appeals to “all the resources which science places within the reach of those who have something to destroy.” M. Jules Guesde, only the other day at the Nancy Congress, “placed the gun to his cheek,” notwithstanding the fact that this attitude is out of date.
M. Georges Sorel, a retired chief engineer of the department of Roads and Bridges, who has found interest in employing his leisure with a systematic and conscientious study of Socialism in general and of Marxism in particular, has discovered in the course of his researches that Marx himself, and à fortiori those who make use of his name, are guilty of a number of heresies, with which he contends by the aid of the “inherent principles” of Marxism. He proposes to treat the theories which the doctrinal Socialists refuse to admit, and the militant Socialists regard as axiomatic, as myths removed outside all controversy. What a fall is here! Scientific Socialism ending in folk-lore!
Karl Marx is nothing but an inventor and manufacturer of myths with which he abuses the credulity of his followers, but M. Georges Sorel adds that the doctrine of the end of the world had had so great an influence from the point of view of the Christian propaganda that it ought to be carefully preserved as the final doctrine of the Socialistic Day of Judgment. M. Faubert once asked him whether the doctrine of the end of the world did not have the force of a deception, to which M. Sorel replied that the promises of a Christian millennium have never been realised, and Christianity has always preserved many faithful followers.
Socialist Congress, Stuttgart, August 20th, 1907.