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Studies in Communism

Representation And The State

as he allows the right of his master to combine and boycott. Out of this right of employer and employed the wage system itself springs as a form of mutual convenience, arising out of a cooperation in which, as Henry George might have it, one of the parties prefers a certain to a contingent result. Consequently, there is no "'iron law of wages," but a natural and healthy reward, within capitalist society, for all human exertion employed in the product ion of wealth! So much for the capitalistic appearance of liberty for employer and employed!

Did matters thus stand still, and petty enterprise thrive in bourgeois society, this equal right of master and serf might thus form the basis of a certain amount of social sordidness, but never permit of matters coming to a head. But nature abhors such a contingency as certainly as she abhors a vacuum. And so it comes about that from time to time we hear of some Sugar King, or Railway Magnate, owner of some vast stretch of land, complaining at the uncontrollable character of the wealth and the industrial conditions which have made him. In America, the home of Trusts, no less so than in England where combinations are thinly disguised under various names, a few men control more money than does the Government. Their power being absolute, the bourgeoisie, mistaking itself for the whole of the people, plead that such individuals are corrupting business, politics, and citizenship, and in evidence of this assertion point to how titles are obtained in England, and how political power is controlled by millionaires in America. This plutocratic element, an increasing one under capitalism, judges men not by their principles but by their price. It regards public office as an article of merchandise, to be bought and sold the same as dry goods or railroad shares. The strongest political argument it can offer is a thumping cheque. Its very being evidences the failure of democratic government, and shows that there is no difference beyond that of form between the crowned Monarch in England, the sceptred Emperor in German, and the uncrowned President of the United States. It means that even if in other details democratic representation was not a farce, the affirmative usages of government were controlled by plutocracy. To its offices were elected the sons of the plutocrats. Affirmatively, therefore, the State is but a bureaucratic institution, the official representatives of which tax or blackmail the capitalist class to the tune of several millions per annum for the privilege of being supplied with a standing army, navy, judicial bench, etc., for the purposes of enabling the capitalist class to pocket its surplus value — the unearned profit which it derives from the exploitation of the proletariat. A reflection of industrial conditions, the State is thus seen to be controlled by, and managed in the interests of, the capitalist class, whose turn the government must always serve, since government officialism is paid for directly by the capitalist class out of the surplus value. In other words, the cost of the army, navy, charitable institutions,


police, bench, bar, and the whole judicial machinery, represents the cost of the capitalists' class's insurance policy. Labour produces the wealth and capital pays the insurance. Official mismanagement is, in some directions, causing capital to resent the terms of its insurance and long for "Voluntarism"; in other directions, to long for better centralised control—and the nationalisation of the land, the mines, and the railways.

To the capitalistic advocates of the voluntaristic philosophy, who assure the world that one cannot get more intelligence out of the administrative or legislative machine than one puts into it, the proletarian—remembering that genius is also the mental characteristic of a revolutionary class during the period of outlawed existence —will lend a sympathy not unaccompanied with the reservation that, however true the statement, it does not concern the proletaire, in whose interests, Government, so long as the capitalist system lasts, will not, and cannot, be administered. When that system has departed, class interests will have vanished, and Government will be unnecessary. Antagonistic to the spirit and letter of government, the mastering of the industrial principle of the class war, will have supplied the proletarian with an explanation of its existence which will but serve to add a flippant contempt for government decrees to an intellectual scorn of its methods, and an intense hatred of conventional morality—so dear to drawing-room prudes living on the unearned increment which makes for prostitution— as being but the vicious profit-mongering pretences of an anonymous slave-society.



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