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AUTHOR’S PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION. - Yves Guyot, The Tyranny of Socialism 
The Tyranny of Socialism, ed. J.H. Levy (London: Swan Sonnenschein and Co., 1894).
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AUTHOR’S PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION.
The first edition of The Tyranny of Socialism appeared on the morrow of the closing of the Bourse du Travail. On that day, a Senator, M. Goblet, late President of the Council, and late Minister of Justice and the Interior, with two other ex-Presidents of the Council, Messrs. Brisson and Floquet, and a certain number of Deputies and Municipal Councillors of Paris, protested against this act of the Government, in a manifesto which was really an incitement to insurrection. The Socialists showed no liking for those who thus compromised themselves with them. Wherever they could not push them aside, they fought them. The Bourse du Travail, even while preparing for the Social Revolution, was an electoral machine. In two buildings in Paris, situate in the Rue Chateau-d’Eau and the Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and in thirty-one Bourses du Travail scattered over the provinces, the Socialists organised the elections at the expense of the taxpayers. It is for this reason that the world saw sixty-eight Socialist Deputies, in addition to about sixty Socialist-Radical Deputies, emerge from the ballot-boxes of the 20th of August and the 3rd of September. The Socialist-Radicals, with M. Camille Pelletan at their head, follow the Socialists in all the works of disorganisation, anarchy, and social strife which enter into their daily political life, but they are reduced to acting as mere train-bearers.
The pure Socialists, the true Socialists, opportunists or revolutionaries, all speak in the name of Karl Marx and the German Socialism. They are constituted as a class organisation. They represent the struggle of the “Fourth Estate—which, by the way, they cannot define—against “Capitalistic Society.” The end which they pursue is “the expropriation of Capitalistic Society” by any means: “economic resistance (i.e., strikes), force, or the political vote, as the case may be.”1
As a minimum programme for immediate realisation, they have somewhat cleverly for mulated three points: suppression of the privilege of the Bank of France, organisation of credit by the State, and resumption of the railways and mines by the State.
In order to compel the Government to pronounce itself on the last point, they provoked a strike of miners in the Pas-de-Calais and the Nord. Naturally, they tried to colour it with divers pretexts; but, at bottom, the Socialists regard all strikes from the point of view of Benoît Malon, in Le Nouveau Parti (1881): “Even an unsuccessful strike has its utility if, as Lafargue recommends with some reason, instead of striking for striking sake, we make use of it as a means of inflaming the working masses, snatching from capital its mask of philanthropic and liberal phrases, and exposing before the eyes of all its hideous face and its murderous exploitation.”
The strike lasted six weeks, during which the strikers gave themselves up to all sorts of violence, including sixteen outrages with dynamite, which had no further effect than waste of material. The strike ended with the meeting of the new Chamber on 14th November last.
The Socialists brought forward an interpellation, in which M. Jaurès endeavoured to embody an exposition of Socialistic principles. This was but a wild charge, embellished with false figures and false quotations, directed against existing society, and a promise that, when the Socialists are in power, all will be for the best in the best of possible worlds. He forgot, however, to show how all would be for the best. Three Ministers of the Dupuy Cabinet—Messieurs Peytral, Terrier, and Viette—while not pure Socialists, nevertheless did not wish to break with the Socialists. They tendered their resignation on 25th November, and the interpellation terminated without the passing of the order of the day.1
As soon as the Casimir Périer Cabinet was reconstituted, the Socialists put forward M. Paschal Grousset, the late Delegate for Affaires Exterieures of the Commune, with a demand for an amnesty. Though resisted by the Government, it was rejected only by 257 votes against 226. In this division, there were 215 Republicans in the minority and only 205 in the majority. This is a most unfortunate sign of the times, and proves that a good number of Republicans were not able, or did not dare—because of feebleness of character or electoral pressure—to dissociate themselves from the Socialists.
It is true that, on 9th December, when a bomb explosion resounded through the Chamber of Deputies, the Socialists endeavoured to repudiate all solidarity with the author of the crime. But they had too often offered apologies for the use of force—the liberating rifle,” “the resources which science puts at the disposal of those who have anything to destroy—for their disavowals to appear quite sincere. Moreover, they were not continued. The Government having proposed a law on explosives, inspired by the English law of 1883, the Socialists resisted it, confessing that they did so as they regarded themselves as attacked by it. They have, since then, defended Léanthier, the assassin of M. Georgewitch, Vaillant, the author of the outrage in the Palais Bourbon, and their accomplices; and they have done well. It would be a great piece of cowardice on their part to repudiate and abandon their advanced guard.
On 12th December, M. Basly lodged an interpellation on the miners’ strike; but the bomb had done its work, and he was defeated by 386 votes to 124. But we must not nurse the illusion that, when once the memory of Vaillant’s outrage has become effaced, this majority will remain compact for resistance to Socialistic enterprises.
The Chamber has decided on the nomination of a Labour Commission, which will be the citadel of the Socialists. Projects of this kind are about to multiply. Already the Senate has taken into consideration a proposal of M. Maxime Lecomte, tending to aggravate the law of 2nd November, 1892, on women’s work, and to apply it to men. The Socialists ask for this limitation of the hours of labour “as the surest means of revolutionising the labouring class, that is to say, of ranging it under the banner of Socialism.”1
What will the Deputies do with regard to the Bill of M. Goblet, which gives the Government the right to dispossess, with or without compensation, every mine proprietor whose workmen have been on strike for more than two months? For a late very moderate Republican, ex-Minister of Justice, ex-President of the Council, who, in 1882, treated the miners on strike as we see further on,1 to go so far as to lodge such a Bill, is an indication of profound trouble in the future, intellectual and moral.
That which is very grave is the complete absence of any exact notion of the limits of State action. The Protectionists have persuaded peasants and proprietors, traders and manufacturers, that it is the duty of the State to assure to them good profits and good incomes, and, as a means to this end, to guarantee the sale of their products—their corn, their wine, etc.—at high prices. But if the middle class ask for the intervention of the State in the bargains they make for the exchange of their goods, why should not the labouring class ask for it in the bargains they make for the sale of their labour? If the State imposes customs duties to protect the national labour, it is bound to expel foreign workmen; and, if it does not do this, the miners of the Pas-de-Calais will undertake to drive out the Belgian miners, and the workmen of the salt-pits of Aiguemortes will engage to thrust out the Italian workmen.
Threats of a rise in the duty on corn have driven commerce into the keeping up of large reserve stocks. The harvest has been good. Prices are low. The Protectionists demand that the duties should be raised; and M. Jaurès, one of the orators of the Socialists, proposes that the State should charge itself with a monopoly of the trade in corn—or at least in foreign corn—as a first step. The vine growers of the south, in their turn, complain that the vintage has been too good, and they call upon the State to make a market for their wines, threatening “revolutionary means, refusal of taxes,” if this be not granted. Their Deputies declare that “they will put themselves at the disposal of their electors—for what purpose they do not say—if the State does not give them satisfaction.
If the agriculturists, if the vine-growers, make such demands on the State, why should not the workmen do likewise? The question for them is one of their daily bread in return for their work. Why should the State not guarantee to them good wages, and very short and easy work? If the Protectionists are right, why do some of them fight against the Socialists? In the name of what principle, of what doctrine, is this action taken? Is not their principle that of State intervention? The Protectionists, by admitting this with regard to goods, the produce of labour, and rejecting it with respect to labour itself, find themselves in so illogical a position that, whether they like it or not, they are bound to slide into Socialism.
Thus, though I am an optimist by temperament and character, I dread, not a violent crisis, a social revolution, a social war, like the Commune, but the buying-up of a number of municipalities by the Socialists, the voting by the Chamber of Deputies of a certain number of laws which will give Socialism a new influence, and which, toned down by the Senate, will not provoke the violent reaction which would result from any clearer and more precisely directed attack on property.
We, who are endeavouring to recall the principles of equality before the law and the guarantees of individual liberty, are but a few. We are trying to show that freedom of labour, far from being a vain word, is an important reality, but we have against us Protectionists and Socialists, who fight us with an equal ardour, and with the force which private interests have against that general interest which, belonging to everybody, is defended by nobody. Here Government should step in; but that which Protectionists and Socialists are demanding is that Government itself should turn traitor and become the chief aggressor.
THE TYRANNY OF SOCIALISM.
Manifesto of Montmartre, 1881.
That is to say, the motion with which the Government met this interpellation was defeated.—Ed.
Benoît Malon, in Le Nouveau Parti, 1881.
Book vi., chap. i.