The Passing of the Barricade
Toward the end of May nearly fifty years ago, were being enacted in Paris the closing scenes of the Commune. Successful for a too short time as it was in demonstrating the administrative capabilities of the working class, it at length fell to the superior military force and to the relentless fury of an alarmed bourgeoisie. In those last days of May 1871 was taught the momentous lesson of the failure of the barricade.
In our time we occasionally find rebellious spirits who still believe in the possibility of a new social order being obtained by physical means, and the armed power possessed by the capitalist class being overcome by means of overturned carts and piled paving stones, and sniping from roofs. How recent events have proved the fallacy of such a belief! What would happen to the defenders of a barricade now-a-days? Why, an aeroplane would drop a bomb and blow them to smithereens in an instant. Let the rebellious ones take refuge in cellars and gas would be pumped down among them till they were exterminated.
The science of killing makes no provision for heroes at this stage of the world’s evolution. The march of Time has left behind the barricade and established the truth of our contention that the working class can only emancipate themselves by capturing the political machinery.
One fears, however, that like most of the obvious facts that are placed before the working class, it will be passed by unheeded, and that yet again will the toilers rush headlong against the bayonets and chassepots of armed authority. To prevent such a tragedy as that is the earnest endeavour of the Socialist Party directed. To teach the working class the way to achieve their economic emancipation, and to organise them for the task, are the reasons for the existence of our organisation.
Sad as has been the past, almost hopeless as seems the awful present, there nevertheless will come, slowly, maybe, but surely, to the slave class, the knowledge of their position, and they will turn their eyes about for the way out. Then shall we point to the history of the international proletariat, with its numberless barricades and futile martyrdoms, and from the path of failure we know they must turn to the way that has been shown them by the Socialist Party – political action; the only way to achieve the Social Revolution and establish Socialism.