I shall sum up this whole dissertation with these words: Workmen, labourers, "prolétaires," destitute and suffering classes, will you improve your condition? You will not succeed by strife, insurrection, hatred, and error. But there are three things which cannot perfect the entire community, without extending these benefits to yourselves; these things are peace, liberty, and security.
On the contrary, if the demands of the proletaires became too pressing, it declared a foreign war, and neighboring nations were deprived of their liberty, to maintain the Roman aristocracy. But the toils of war were only a halt for the plebeians in their onward march towards pauperism.
Courage, then, ministers, deputies, economists! make haste to seize this glorious initiative; let the watchwords of equality, uttered from the heights of science and power, be repeated in the midst of the people; let them thrill the breasts of the proletaires, and carry dismay into the ranks of the last representatives of privilege!
Augustine, and the puns of St. Bernard. Let no one, then, be deceived: from the moment that the mind, at first entirely occupied with speech, passes to experience and labor, the man of letters, properly speaking, is simply the puny personification of the least of our faculties; and literature, the refuse of intelligent industry, finds a market only with the idlers whom it amuses and the proletaires whom it fascinates, the jugglers who besiege power and the charlatans who shelter themselves behind it, the hierophants of divine right who blow the trumpet of Sinai, and the fanatical proclaimers of the sovereignty of the people, whose few mouth-pieces, compelled to practise their tribunician eloquence from tombs until they can shower it from the height of rostrums, know no better than to give to the public parodies of Gracchus and Demosthenes.
The intellectual proletaires Riehl calls the “church militant” of the Fourth Estate in Germany. In no other country are they so numerous; in no other country is the trade in material and industrial capital so far exceeded by the wholesale and retail trade, the traffic and the usury, in the intellectual capital of the nation. Germany yields more intellectual produce than it can use and pay for.
That the jus possessionis the simple right of possession should be extended to them at the expense, as is evident, not of private property, but of the public domain, agri publici. The proletaires, in short, demanded that they should be tenants of the land which they had conquered. This demand, the patricians in their avarice never would accede to.
The lands confiscated from the conquered nations were immediately added to the domain of the State, to the ager publicus; and, as such, cultivated for the benefit of the treasury; or, as was more often the case, they were sold at auction. None of them were granted to the proletaires, who, unlike the patricians and knights, were not supplied by the victory with the means of buying them.
Better manage our affairs ourselves than through agents. Better associate our industries than beg from monopolies; and, since the republic cannot dispense with virtues, we should labor for our reform. This, therefore, is my line of conduct. I preach emancipation to the proletaires; association to the laborers; equality to the wealthy.
The imperial power was a compromise which protected the property of the rich, and nourished the proletaires with wheat from Africa and Sicily: a double error, which destroyed the aristocrats by plethora and the commoners by famine.
Then he shrugged his shoulders and said he would not stay on this job. He had expected to find zealous proletaires who hated capital and fought for freedom, and he had found that everything was very well arranged and trained to carry out the designs of capital. Everything was after all a humbug. Whenever he was dissatisfied, he made a wry mouth, which amused Spiele. But she consoled him.