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 XXXII


ALL the iron-workers in Berlin and the neighbourhood came out on strike this morning, upon the refusal of their demands to receive the full reward of their labour. The Government met the strike with a prompt order to at once stop the dinners and suppers of all those on strike. In all the State cookshops the officials have the strictest instructions not to honour the coupons of the iron-workers. The same suspension of the coupons applies to all restaurants, and all shops whence, in accordance with the Government regulations, these persons in ordinary times derive their supplies. The various shops and places in question are closely watched by strong detachments of police. By these means it is hoped that those on strike will, in a very short time, be starved into submission, inasmuch as the few crumbs and parings which their wives and friends will be able to give them from their rations will be of very little avail.


There is more bad news to follow. An order has just been issued to reduce the bread rations of the entire population by one half, and to do away with the meat rations altogether. It is hoped by these measures to effect such a saving as will enable the Government to, at least to some extent, provision the frontier fortresses. For, in the meantime, the threatened distraints in Germany have actually begun to take place. From the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, French cavalry has advanced across the German frontier, passed the Moselle, and interrupted the traffic on the Treves and Diedenhofen, and Treves and Saarlouis lines. Other divisions of the French army, with Longyon, Conflans, Pont-à-Mousson, Nancy, and Lunéville as their bases of action, have crossed the Lorraine frontier with the intention of besieging Metz and Diedenhofen, and making a demonstration in the direction of Morchingen. Both of these fortresses are stated to have but one week's provisions at the outside. The same may be said of Koenigsberg, Thorn, and Graudenz, against which points Russian columns are now on the march, with a view to seizing territory as security for their claims. The tactics appear to be, to attack Eastern Prussia on the East, and on the South at the same moment, so that upon its subjugation the eastern line of attack upon Germany may be much shortened on the one hand, whilst on the other hand the supplies of horses for the German army from Eastern Prussia will be cut off. As far as possible, the reserves hasten to the frontier. But it has unfortunately transpired that there is a great lack of even necessary articles of clothing for many of the reserves. In consequence of the great falling off in manufacture in many branches, after the Revolution, large quantities of underclothing, boots, and other articles intended for the army, had to be diverted to the civilians, seeing that the regular supply did not keep pace with the demand.


But enough of this. I find I shall henceforth be no longer able to give the same full account of events as they happen. The twelve hours day comes into force to-morrow, so I shall then not have much time for writing. I propose, therefore, to finish off this narrative as soon as possible, and to send it to Franz and Agnes in the New World. May it long remind them, and their children, and children's children, of me and of the present stormy times, and, indeed, I must get it off with all possible speed, or it may be too late. I notice that I am regarded with such increasing suspicion that a search might be made, and my papers confiscated at any moment.

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