Book Review from the December 1966 issue of the Socialist Standard
Peaceful Revolution versus Violence by Frederick Engels (Socialist Labour Party, Is. 10d.)
The SLP have republished the introduction that Engels wrote in 1895 to Marx’s Class Struggles in France. They have changed their title from The Revolutionary Act.
Engels argues that the armed uprising as a means of winning political power has become outdated. The power of the military has so increased that they have the upper hand every time in street battles. The most practical means to political power has become the vote, as the Social Democrats in Germany were showing. There the working class were beginning to use the vote as “an instrument of emancipation.”
One passage is particularly worth quoting:
"The time is past for revolutions carried through by small minorities at the head of unconscious masses. When it gets to be a matter of the complete transformation of the social organisation, the masses themselves must participate, must understand what is at stake and why they are to act.”
This the Socialist Party of Gt. Britain has argued all along, against anarchists and those who back the theories of Lenin and Trotsky. Before Socialism can be established the immense majority of the working class must understand and want it and democratically set about getting it.