The Socialist idea is clear and noble. We note that the current form of property divides today's society in two large classes, and that one of these classes, that of the proletarians, is forced, in order to live and somehow exert its faculties, to pay a kind of tax to the capitalist class. Here is a multitude of human beings, of citizens: they don't own. They can only live of their work, and, since they need costly tools they don't have in order to work, they have to place themselves at the disposal of another class that owns the means of productions, the land, the factories, the machines, the raw materials and accumulated monetary resources. And naturally, the capitalist owning class, using its power, has the proletarian class pay a large rent. It doesn't stop when getting back the money it lent, or when the tools are amortized; each year and indefinitely it takes a notable share - land rent, urban apartment rents, State deficit dividends, coupons on equities, industrial profits, commercial profit.
So, in today's society, the proletarians don't own the whole of their work. Since our society is based on intensive production, economic activity is an integral part of personality : proletarians don't own themselves whole. They alienate a part of their activity, a part of themselves, to the profits of another class. Their human right is mutilated and incomplete. They can do anything in their lives without being submitted to this restriction of their rights, this disenfranchisement of their person. As soon as they are out of their factory, their mine, their building site, where they gave up part of their efforts to profits and dividends, a soon as they get back into the poor apartment where their family is stacked, a new tax is used to create rent. At the same time, the State tax under all its shapes, direct or indirect, eats up their wages already twice diminished, not only for common interests or cultural spending, but to pay back the debt to this same capitalist class, or to maintain formidable and useless armies. Finally, what's left of this salary is used to buy the food and stuff needed for his daily life, and the proletarian [has to pay for] the ten to twelve percent profits of commercial capital. [...] He can't work, feed himself, clothe himself, have an house or an apartment, without paying to the owning capitalist class a kind of ransom.
Not only his life is thus touched, but his freedom is also affected. For labor to be really free, all workers should have their part in directing it, they have to participate in the economic government of the workplace, in the same way as they participate through universal suffrage in the political government of the state. However, proletarians have a passive role in the capitalist organisation of work. They don't decide what project will be undertaken, or how available workforce will be employed. It is without consulting them, often without informing them, that the capital they created start or gives up on a project. They are the disposable hands of the capitalist system, only executing the plans made by capital only. Proletarians work on these project conceived and wanted by the capitalists, under leadership of bosses elected by the capital. Thus, workers do not help determine the goal of their work, or the mechanisms of authority under which the work is done. Labour is doubly slave, to ends it didn't want, by means it didn't choose. The capitalist system that exploits the worker's capacity for work, infringes the freedom of the worker. The worker's person is as diminished as his subsistence.
But that isn't all. The capitalist owning class is only one class towards the workers, but it is itself divided by the roughest competition. It wasn't able to organise itself, and thus discipline production, and regulate it to the varying needs of societies. In this anarchic disorder, it is warned of its mistakes only through crises, the consequences of which are borne by the proletarians. Thus, by an extreme injustice, the proletarians are socially responsible of the march of production, which they in no way determine. Not being free, but being responsible, not being asked, but being punished, this is the paradoxical destiny of proletarians in the capitalist disorder. And if capitalism organised itself, if it was able to build large trusts regulating production, it would only regulate to its own benefit; it would abuse of this integrated power to force on buyers usury prices. The workers would escape the consequences of economic disorder only to fall under a monopoly.
All this misery, this unfairness and these disorder are caused by one class monopolising the means of productions and of life, and imposing its law on another class and the whole society. This supremacy of one class must be abolished. The oppressed class must be enfranchised, and in the same sweep enfranchise society. All differences of class must be abolished, by transferring to all citizens, to the organised community, the property of the means of production and life which are today, in the hands of a single class, a force of exploitation and oppression. To the disorganised and abusive domination of a minority must be substituted the universal cooperation of citizens, associated with the common ownership of the means of work and freedom. It is the only way to enfranchise humanity. This is why the essential program of socialism, whether it is collectivist or communist, is to transform capitalist ownership into social ownership.
In the present state of humanity, there are only national organisations, and social property will be a national property. The proletarian's action will be more and more international. The various nations on the way to socialism will regulate their relationships according to justice and peace. But the nation will be the historical bearer of socialism for quite some time ; it will be the united mould where new justice will be shaped.
Let us not be surprised that after asking for the freedom of the individual person, the national community is being brought to the front. Only the nation can enfranchise everybody. Only the nation can give to everybody the means to a free development. Particular corporations, temporary associations, can for a time protect small group of individuals. But to insure the rights of all people, alive and yet to be born, without exception, we need a general and eternal association.
This universal, undying assoctiation, including everybody on a determined part of the planet, extending its actions and thoughts throughout generations, is the nation. We need the nation to warrant the full and universal rights of the individual. No human person must ever be left out of the sphere of law and rights. None shall be the prey or the tool of another person. None must ever be deprived of the positive means he needs to freely work, without depending on anybody else.
Thus the rights of individuals, today, tomorrow and forever, are made possible by the nation. If we transfer what used to be the class property of capitalists to the national community, we do not want to make an idol of the nation. We do not want to sacrifice to it individual liberty. We do it so that the nation can be the common basis to all individual activities and rights. Social rights, national rights, are only the geometric place of every individual's right. Social ownership is only the instrument of action, put where everybody can use it.
Some things are a bit outdated, Jaurès feels like he insists too much on the nation. But it feels like the left has given up on changing society. Is this idea done for?