THE MEANING OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, n
friends, assistants, servants and flatterers, and of their helpers.
The infection of depravity is focussed in the Court of the despot,
whence it radiates in all directions.
Where power is limited, i.e. where many persons take part
in it, the number of centres of infection is augmented, for everyone
who shares power has his friends, helpers, servants, flatterers and
Where there is universal suffrage, these centres of infection are
still more diffused. Every voter becomes the object of flattery
and bribery. The character of the power itself is also changed.
Instead of power founded on direct violence, we get a monetary
power, also founded on violence, not directly, but through a
So that under representative Governments, instead of one or a
few centres of depravity, we get a large number of such centres—
that is to say, there springs up a large class of people living idly
on others' labour, the class called the "bourgeois," i.e. people who,
being protected by violence, arrange for themselves easy and
comfortable lives, free from hard work.
But as, when arranging an easy and pleasant life not only
for a Monarch and his Court, but for thousands of little kinglets,
many things are needed to embellish and to amuse this idle life,
it results that whenever power passes from a despotic to a
representative Government, inventions appear, facilitating the
supply of objects that add to the pleasure and safety of the lives of
the wealthy classes.
To produce all these objects, an ever-increasing number of
working men are drawn away from agriculture, and have their
capacities directed to the production of pleasing trifles used by the
rich, or even to some extent by the workers themselves. So there
springs up a class of town workers so situated as to be in
complete dependence on the wealthy classes. The number of
these people grows and grows the longer the power of representative
Government endures, and their condition becomes worse and worse.
In the United States, out of a population of seventy millions, ten