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Friedrich Naumann, "What Does Christian-Social Mean?" (1894)

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Whereas the organizational question demands specialized study and agitation, there remains a complex of problems that affects all segments of the population equally, and which must therefore be dealt with as evenly as possible within all the individual organizations. We call this complex of problems the question of capital. It is here that we charge the Social Democrats with fatalistic optimism. As is well known, bourgeois liberalism has the principle of laissez aller, laissez faire. Social Democracy inherited this principle and gave it roughly the following formulation: the more one allows the concentration of capital free play, the more quickly the capitalist system will reach its end, and that is why we are principled free-traders and do not bother Rothschild and his ilk from going about their work, which, by the fortune of fate (we don’t know why, but it must be this way), must essentially serve our wishes. In this decision to let capital grow lies both the strength and the weakness of Social Democracy; the strength: because every great optimism attracts people, because this doctrine is capable of creating a mood that is similar to that of some religious sects, which place all hope in a great day of wrath and bliss, and wind their way boldly through everyday life, since the morning stars of the Thousand Year Kingdom are already in the sky; the weakness: because this kind of mood cannot last longer than a human lifetime. The bourgeois world is not as fragile as it is said to be, the expropriation of the expropriators, the concentration of enterprises do not take place with the rapid certainty of a mathematical process – in short, the longer Social Democracy adheres to its view of the capital question, the more difficulties it will find itself in. These difficulties are now becoming urgent in two ways. First, there are the bills based on a conservative anti-Semitic standpoint that seek to attack capitalism, even if their efforts are weak for the time being. Simple common sense, following the saying that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, will vote for a usury law and a stock exchange tax. If Social Democracy remains faithful to its doctrine, it must reject both kinds of laws outright; it must proudly disdain all these "palliative remedies." [ . . . ]

[ . . . ] To this we must add the second factor: there is a certain relationship between unemployment and capital concentration. The number of jobless grows along with great wealth, that is to say, with the level of unconsumed annual income. Now, it is quite possible that unemployment, too, will be integrated into the system as a necessary dark side of the correct development of things, but it is less possible for a party that seeks to serve the neediest to console the unemployed for decades by referring to the system. The hundreds of thousands of jobless will demand with rising urgency practical anti-capitalism right now, so that they might live. If this anti-capitalism is not available in the shape of a political party, practical anarchism must occur among them.

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