Pictures of the Socialistic Future

Richter, Eugene
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Henry Wright, trans.
First Pub. Date
London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd.
Pub. Date
Introduction by Thomas Mackay.
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Chapter XXVI


WITH heaviness such as this in the heart, all political matters seem so immaterial and idle to one. The sorrows of the present moment make one regard all considerations for the future with indifference.


Franz has proved to be right in his forecast of the results of the elections. In his last letter he expressed his belief that, in a community in which there was no longer any personal or commercial freedom, even the freest form of government would fail to restore any political independence. He considered that those subjects who are so dependent upon the Government, even in the most ordinary affairs of life, as is now the case with us, would only in very rare instances have the courage to vote, no matter how secret that voting might be, in opposition to the known wishes of those in power. The right of voting, Franz wrote, could have no more serious significance in our socialistic State of society than such a right has for soldiers in barracks, or for prisoners in gaol.


The result of the elections shows that the Government party, in spite of all the wide-spread discontent there is, has secured two-thirds of the votes recorded. And this triumph, moreover, has been obtained without any special efforts on their part. The only exception which must be made in this connection was the transfer of a few leaders of the party of freedom, and of the Younkers, which transfers were obviously made for political reasons, and intended to act as warnings.


Weighed down by the load of adversity which has befallen us as a family, I relinquished my original intention of giving an adverse vote, and sided with the Government. Whatever would have become of my wife and me if, in our present frame of mind, I had been sent away to some far-off little place in the provinces?


It seems somewhat odd that in the country, where the discontent is at its height, the Government has scored the best results. The only explanation is, that as people in the country are even more under surveillance than is the case in thickly-populated towns, they are still more reticent in giving expression to opposition views than townspeople are. In addition to this, the recent increase of the army has sent some terror into men's hearts in the disaffected districts.


In Berlin, the Government party is in a minority. And as, according to the system of proportional election now adopted, Berlin forms only one electoral division, the vote of our city is on the side of the Party of Freedom.


The Younkers have come off very badly, and, in spite of the strong support given them by the Woman's Universal Wedlock League, have only succeeded in returning one candidate. It seems pretty clear that the nation has no desire to see any additions made to the socialistic edifice now erected. And even this one candidate would scarcely have been returned but for the help of friends belonging to the Party of Freedom, who supported his election because of the vigorous attacks he made on the Government.


The Party of Freedom, or the Friends of Freedom, as they also style themselves, have obtained nearly one-third of the total number of votes recorded throughout the whole country. And this result has been obtained in spite of all the efforts made by the Government side to brand them as a party of demolition, and one that sought only to undermine the established order of society.


The relative measure of success which this party has obtained is largely owing to the support given by women voters, and, indeed, these latter have shown a good deal more activity in the elections than the voters of the rougher sex. They have made no secret of the bitterness they feel at the present state of things, and of their chagrin at the restrictions placed upon private and domestic affairs.


In particular, the regulation rendering it possible at any moment to give notice of the dissolution of marriage, had the effect of making a large number of deserted wives specially active in the distribution of voting-papers, and in bringing dilatory voters up to the poll.


Of lady candidates only one has been returned to Parliament, this one being the wife of the new Chancellor. This lady is not an adherent of the Government party, but calls herself an entirely independent member. In her election speeches she has repeatedly assured her hearers that she would, in Parliament, follow exactly the same course she had always adopted at home, both towards her present husband, and towards the husbands she has had before, and plainly speak out her mind whenever the welfare of the nation seemed to require it. The Government party did not care to oppose the election of this lady, partly out of courtesy to the Chancellor, and partly in order that her return might serve as an illustration of the equality of women's rights with those of men.

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