Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968). rn The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.

The Syndicalist
(From “The Red Wave”)

Joseph-Henry Rosny, the Elder

(French novelist, member of the Académie des Goncourts; born 1856. A novel of revolutionary Syndicalism)

LIKE a thousand others, Rougemont wanted the daily revolution, which should ferment in the brain, not like a dream, but like an energy, should manifest itself by a discipline and a method, by daily exercises to keep it in condition. It was no longer a question of brandishing the torch. It was necessary to understand and to will, to organize social experience, to wage petty warfare—sallies, raids, ambuscades; to entertain cold hatreds, logical and continuous, to haggle over wages as the Norman peasant haggles over chickens, and above all to create a sort of happy excitement, a fraternal exaltation which would bring to the gatherings ideas of security, of trust, of mutual aid.

The strikes will be beautiful schools of social struggle. They will open the path for magnanimous instincts, heroic and adventurous, which air the human soul. Always better organized, they will no longer reduce the artisan to famine, they will demand of him only to undergo some privations which the beauty of revolt will render almost joyous. They will develop generosity, abnegation, the richest spirit of sacrifice. Their recollection will awaken magnificent and powerful images; they will lend to the social life that passionate unforeseen, which is evoked in us by the virgin forest, the open plain, the palpitant sea.… Everywhere, finally, the proletariat will build its visions upon the basis of reality.