Paul Lafargue

Source: Marx and Engels Through the Eyes of Their Contemporaries, Progress Publishers, 1972

Online Version: Lafargue Internet Archive ( 2002

Transcription/Markup: Sally Ryan

He was a man, take him for all is all,

I shall not look upon his like again.

(Hamlet, Act I, Sc. 2)

I met Karl Marx for the first time in February 1865. The First International had been founded on September 28, 1864 at a meeting in St. Martin's Hall, London, and I went to London from Paris to give Marx news of the development of the young organisation there. M. Tolain, now a senator in the bourgeois republic, gave me a letter of introduction.

I was then 24 years old. As long as I live I shall remember the impression that first visit made on me. Marx was not well at the time. He was working on the first book of Capital, which was not published until two years later, in 1867. He feared he would not be able to finish his work and was therefore glad of visits from young people. "I must train men to continue communist propaganda after me," he used to say.

Karl Marx was one of the rare men who could be leaders in science and public life at the same time: these two aspects were so closely united in him that one can understand him only by taking into account both the scholar and the socialist fighter.

Marx held the view that science must be pursued for itself, irrespective of the eventual results of research, but at the same time that a scientist could only debase himself by giving up active participation in public life or shutting himself up in his study or laboratory like a maggot in cheese and holding aloof from the life and political struggle of his contemporaries.

"Science must not he a selfish pleasure," he used to say. "Those who have the good fortune to be able to devote themselves to scientific pursuits must be the first to place their knowledge at the service of humanity." One of his favourite sayings was: "Work for humanity."

Although Marx sympathised profoundly with the sufferings of the working classes, it was not sentimental considerations but the study of history and political economy that led him to communist views. He maintained that any unbiased man, free from the influence of private interests and not blinded by class prejudices, must necessarily come to the same conclusions.

Yet while studying the economic and political development of human society without any preconceived opinion, Marx wrote with no other intention than to propagate the results of his research and with a determined will to provide a scientific basis for the socialist movement, which had so far been lost in the clouds of utopianism. He gave publicity to his views only to promote the triumph of the working class, whose historic mission is to establish communism as soon as it has achieved political and economic leadership of society....

Marx did not confine his activity to the country he was born in. "I am a citizen of the world," he used to say; "I am active wherever I am." And in fact, no matter what country events and political persecution drove him to France, Belgium, England--he took a prominent part in the revolutionary movements which developed there.

However, it was not the untiring and incomparable socialist agitator but rather the scientist that I first saw in his study in Maitland Park Road. That study was the centre to which Party comrades came from all parts of the civilised world to find out the opinion or the master of socialist thought. One must know that historic room before one can penetrate into the intimacy of Marx's spiritual life.

It was on the first floor, flooded by light from a broad window that looked out on to the park. Opposite the window and on either side of the fireplace the walls were lined with bookcases filled with books and stacked up to the ceiling with newspapers and manuscripts. Opposite the fireplace on one side of the window were two tables piled up with papers, books and newspapers; in the middle of the room, well in the light, stood a small, plain desk (three foot by two) and a wooden armchair; between the armchair and the bookcase, opposite the window, was a leather sofa on which Marx used to lie down for a rest from time to time. On the mantelpiece were more books, cigars, matches, tobacco boxes, paperweights and photographs of Marx's daughters and wife, Wilhelm Wolff and Frederick Engels.

Marx was a heavy smoker. "Capital," he said to me once, "will not even pay for the cigars I smoked writing it." But he was still heavier on matches. He so often forgot his pipe or cigar that he emptied an incredible number of boxes of matches in a short time to relight them.

He never allowed anybody to put his books or papers in order--or rather in disorder. The disorder in which they lay was only apparent, everything was really in its intended place so that it was easy for him to lay his hand on the book or notebook he needed. Even during conversations he often paused to show in the book a quotation or figure he had just mentioned. He and his study were one: the books and papers in it were as much under his control as his own limbs.

Marx had no use for formal symmetry in the arrangement of his books: volumes of different sizes and pamphlets stood next to one another. He arranged them according to their contents, not their size. Books were tools for his mind, not articles of luxury. "They are my slaves and they must serve me as I will," he used to say. He paid no heed to size or binding, quality of paper or type; he would turn down the corners of the pages, make pencil marks in the margin and underline whole lines. He never wrote on books, but sometimes he could not refrain from an exclamation or question mark when the author went too far. His system of underlining made it easy for him to find any passage he needed in any book. He had the habit of going through his notebooks and reading the passages underlined in the books after intervals of many years in order to keep them fresh in his memory. He had an extraordinarily reliable memory which he had cultivated from his youth according to Hegel's advice by learning by heart verse in a foreign language he did not know.

He knew Heine and Goethe by heart and often quoted them in his conversations; he was an assiduous reader of poets in all European languages. Every year he read Aeschylus in the Greek original. He considered him and Shakespeare as the greatest dramatic geniuses humanity ever gave birth to. His respect for Shakespeare was boundless: he made a detailed study of his works and knew even the least important of his characters. His whole family had a real cult for the great English dramatist; his three daughters knew many of his works by heart. When after 1848 he wanted to perfect his knowledge of English, which he could already read, he sought out and classified all Shakespeare's original expressions. He did the same with part of the polemical works of William Cobbett, of whom he had a high opinion. Dante and Robert Burns ranked among his favourite poets and he would listen with great pleasure to his daughters reciting or singing the Scottish poet's satires or ballads.

Cuvier, an untirable worker and past master in the sciences, had a suite of rooms, arranged for his personal use, in the Paris Museum, of which he was director. Each room was intended for a particular pursuit and contained the books, instruments, anatomic aids, etc., required for the purpose. When he felt tired of one kind of work he would go into the next room and engage in another; this simple change of mental occupation, it is said, was a rest for him.

Marx was just as tireless a worker as Cuvier, but he had not the means to fit out several studies. He would rest by pacing up and down the room. A strip was worn out from the door to the window, as sharply defined as a track across a meadow.

From time to time he would lie down on the sofa and read a novel; he sometimes read two or three at a time, alternating one with another. Like Darwin, he was a great reader of novels, his preference being for those of the eighteenth century, particularly Fielding's Tom Jones. The more modern novelists whom he found most interesting were Paul de Kock, Charles Lever, Alexander Dumas Senior and Walter Scott, whose Old Mortality he considered a masterpiece. He had a definite preference for stories of adventure and humour.

He ranked Cervantes and Balzac above all other novelists. In Don Quixote he saw the epic of dying-out chivalry whose virtues were ridiculed and scoffed at in the emerging bourgeois world. He admired Balzac so much that he wished to write a review of his great work La Comedie Humaine as soon as he had finished his book on economics. He considered Balzac not only as the historian of his time, but as the prophetic creator of characters which were still in the embryo in the days of Louis Philippe and did not fully develop until Napoleon III.

Marx could read all European languages and write in three: German, French and English, to the admiration of language experts. He liked to repeat the saying: "A foreign language is a weapon in the struggle of life."

He had a great talent for languages which his daughters inherited from him. He took up the study of Russian when he was already 50 years old, and although that language had no close affinity to any of the modern or ancient languages he knew, in six months he knew it well enough to derive pleasure from reading Russian poets and prose writers, his preference going to Pushkin, Gogol and Shchedrin. He studied Russian in order to be able to read the documents of official inquiries which were hushed over by the Russian Government because of the political revelations they made. Devoted friends got the documents for Marx and he was certainly the only political economist in Western Europe who had knowledge of them.

Besides the poets and novelists, Marx had another remarkable way of relaxing intellectually--mathematics, for which he had a special liking. Algebra even brought him moral consolation and he took refuge in the most distressing moments of his eventful life. During his wife's last illness he was unable to devote himself to his usual scientific work and the only way in which he could shake off the oppression caused by her sufferings was to plunge into mathematics. During that time of moral suffering he wrote a work on infinitesimal calculus which, according to the opinion of experts, is of great scientific value and will be published in his collected works. He saw in higher mathematics the most logical and at the same time the simplest form of dialectical movement. He held the view that science is not really developed until it has learned to make use of mathematics.

Although Marx's library contained over a thousand volumes carefully collected during his lifelong research work, it was not enough for him, and for years he regularly attended the British Museum, whose catalogue he appreciated very highly.

Even Marx's opponents were forced to acknowledge his extensive and profound erudition, not only in his own specialty--political economy--but in history, philosophy and the literature of all countries.

In spite of the late hour at which Marx went to bed he was always up between eight and nine in the morning, had some black coffee, read through his newspapers and then went to his study, where he worked till two or three in the morning. He interrupted his work only for meals and, when the weather allowed, for a walk on Hampstead Heath in the evening. During the day he sometimes slept for an hour or two on the sofa. In his youth he often worked the whole night through.

Marx had a passion for work. He was so absorbed in it that he often forgot his meals. He had often to be called several times before he came down to the dining-room and hardly had eaten the last mouthful when he was back in his study.

He was a very light eater and even suffered from lack of appetite. This he tried to overcome by highly flavoured food---ham, smoked fish, caviare, pickles. His stomach had to suffer for the enormous activity of his brain. He sacrificed his whole body to his brain; thinking was his greatest enjoyment. I often heard him repeat the words of Hegel, the philosophy master of his youth: "Even the criminal thought of a malefactor has more grandeur and nobility than the wonders of the heavens."

His physical constitution had to be good to put up with this unusual way of life and exhausting mental work. He was, in fact, of powerful build, more than average height, broad-shouldered, deep-chested, and had well-proportioned limbs, although the spinal column was rather long in comparison with the legs, as is often the case with Jews. Had he practised gymnastics in his youth he would have become a very strong man. The only physical exercise he ever pursued regularly was walking: he could ramble or climb hills for hours, chatting and smoking, and not feel at all tired. One can say that he even worked walking in his room, only sitting down for short periods to write what be thought out while walking. He liked to walk up and down while talking, stopping from time to time when the explanation became more animated or the conversation serious.

For many years I went with him on his evening walks on Hampstead Heath and it was while strolling over the meadows with him that I got my education in economics. Without noticing it he expounded to me the whole contents of the first book of Capital as he wrote it.

On my return home I always noted as well as I could all I had heard. At first it was difficult for me to follow Marx's profound and complicated reasoning. Unfortunately I have lost those precious notes, for after the Commune the police ransacked and burned my papers in Paris and Bordeaux.

What I regret most is the loss of the notes I took on the evening when Marx, with the abundance of proof and considerations which was typical of him, expounded his brilliant theory of the development of human society. It was as if scales fell from my eyes. For the first time I saw clearly the logic of world history and could trace the apparently so contradictory phenomena of the development of society and ideas to their material origins. I felt dazzled, and the impression remained for years.

The Madrid socialists had the same impression when I developed to them as well as my feeble powers would allow that most magnificent of Marx's theories, which is beyond doubt one of the greatest ever elaborated by the human brain.

Marx's brain was armed with an unbelievable stock of facts from history and natural science and philosophical theories. He was remarkably skilled in making use of the knowledge and observations accumulated during years of intellectual work. You could question him at any time on any subject and get the most detailed answer you could wish for, always accompanied by philosophical reflexions of general application. His brain was like a man-of-war in port under steam, ready to launch into any sphere of thought.

There is no doubt that Capital reveals to us a mind of astonishing vigour and superior knowledge. But for me, as for all those who knew Marx intimately, neither Capital nor any other of his works shows all the magnitude of his genius or the extent of his knowledge. He was highly superior to his own works.

I worked with Marx; I was only the scribe to whom he dictated, but that gave me the opportunity of observing his manner of thinking and writing. Work was easy for him, and at the same time difficult. Easy because his mind found no difficulty in embracing the relevant facts and considerations in their completeness. But that very completeness made the exposition of his ideas a matter of long and arduous work. ...

He saw not only the surface, but what lay beneath it. He examined all the constituent parts in their mutual action and reaction; he isolated each of those parts and traced the history of its development. Then he went on from the thing to its surroundings and observed the reaction of one upon the other. He traced the origin of the object, the changes, evolutions and revolutions it went through, and proceeded finally to its remotest effects. He did not see a thing singly, in itself and for itself, separate from its surroundings: he saw a highly complicated world in continual motion.

His intention was to disclose the whole of that world in its manifold and continually varying action and reaction. Men of letters of Flaubert's and the Goncourts' school complain that it is so difficult to render exactly what one sees; yet all they wish to render is the surface, the impression that they get. Their literary work is child's play in comparison with Marx's: it required extraordinary vigour of thought to grasp reality and render what he saw and wanted to make others see. Marx was never satisfied with his work--he was always making some improvements and he always found his rendering inferior to the idea he wished to convey....

Marx had the two qualities of a genius: he had an incomparable talent for dissecting a thing into its constituent parts, and he was past master at reconstituting the dissected object out of its parts, with all its different forms of development, and discovering their mutual inner relations. His demonstrations were not abstractions--which was the reproach made to him by economists who were themselves incapable of thinking; his method was not that of the geometrician who takes his definitions from the world around him but completely disregards reality in drawing his conclusions. Capital does not give isolated definitions or isolated formulas; it gives a series of most searching analyses which bring out the most evasive shades and the most elusive gradations.

Marx begins by stating the plain fact that the wealth of a society dominated by the capitalist mode of production presents itself as an enormous accumulation of commodities; the commodity, which is a concrete object, not a mathematical abstraction, is therefore the element, the cell, of capitalist wealth. Marx now seizes on the commodity, turns it over and over and inside out, and pries out of it one secret after another that official economists were not in the least aware of, although those secrets are more numerous and profound than all the mysteries of the Catholic religion. Having examined the commodity in all its aspects, considers it in its relations to its fellow commodity, in exchange. Then he goes on to its production and the historic prerequisites for its production. He considers the forms which commodities assume and shows how they pass from one to another, how one form is necessarily engendered by the other. He expounds the logical course of development of phenomena with such perfect art that one could think he had imagined it. And yet it is a product of reality, a reproduction of the actual dialectics of the commodity.

Marx was always extremely conscientious about his work: he never gave a fact or figure that was not borne out by the best authorities. He was never satisfied with secondhand information, he always went to the source itself, no matter how tedious the process. To make sure of a minor fact he would go to the British Museum and consult books there. His critics were never able to prove that he was negligent or that he based his arguments on facts which did not bear strict checking.

His habit of always going to the very source made him read authors who were very little known and whom he was the only one to quote. Capital contains so many quotations from little-known authors that one might think Marx wanted to show off how well read he was. He had no intention of the sort. "I administer historical justice," he said. "I give each one his due." He considered himself obliged to name the author who had first expressed an idea or formulated it most correctly, no matter how insignificant and little known he was.

Marx was just as conscientious from the literary as from the scientific point of view. Not only would he never base himself on a fact he was not absolutely sure of, he never allowed himself to talk of a thing before he had studied it thoroughly. He did not publish a single work without repeatedly revising it until he had found the most appropriate form. He could not bear to appear in public without thorough preparation. It would have been a torture for him to show his manuscripts before giving them the finishing touch. He felt so strongly about this that he told me one day that he would rather burn his manuscripts than leave them unfinished.

His method of working often imposed upon him tasks the magnitude of which the reader can hardly imagine. Thus, in order to write the twenty pages or so on English factory legislation in Capital he went through a whole library of Blue Books containing reports of commissions and factory Inspectors in England and Scotland. He read them from cover to cover, as can be seen from the pencil marks in them. He considered those reports as the most important and weighty documents for the study of the capitalist mode of production. He had such a high opinion of those in charge of them that he doubted the possibility of finding in another country in Europe "men as competent, as free from partisanship and respect of persons as are the English factory inspectors". He paid them this brilliant tribute in the Preface to Capital.

From these Blue Books Marx drew a wealth of factual information. Many members of Parliament to whom they are distributed use them only as shooting targets, judging the striking power of the gun by the number of pages pierced. Others sell them by the pound, which is the most reasonable thing they can do, for this enabled Marx to buy them cheap from the old paper dealers in Long Acre whom he used to visit to look through their old books and papers. Professor Beesley said that Marx was the man who made the greatest use of English official inquiries and brought them to the knowledge of the world. He did not know that before 1845 Engels took numerous documents from the Blue Books in writing his book on the condition of the working class in England.


To get to know and love the heart that beat within the breast of Marx the scholar you had to see him when he had closed his books and notebooks and was surrounded by his family, or again on Sunday evenings in the society of his friends. He then proved the pleasantest of company, full of wit and humour, with a laugh that came straight from the heart. His black eyes under the arches of his bushy brews sparkled with pleasure and malice whenever he heard a witty saying or a pertinent repartee.

He was a loving, gentle and indulgent father. "Children should educate their parents," he used to say. There was never even a trace of the bossy parent in his relations with his daughters, whose love for him was extraordinary. He never gave them an order, but asked them to do what he wished as a favour or made them feel that they should not do what he wanted to forbid them. And yet a father could seldom have had more docile children than he. His daughters considered him as their friend and treated him as a companion; they did not call him "father", but "Moor"--a nickname that he owed to his dark complexion and jet-black hair and beard. The members of the Communist League, on the other hand, called him "Father Marx" before 1848, when he was not even thirty years of age....

Marx used to spend hours playing with his children. These still remember the sea battles in a big basin of water and the burning of the fleets of paper ships that he made for them and set on fire to their great joy.

On Sundays his daughters would not allow him to work, he belonged to them for the whole day. If the weather was fine, the whole family would go for a walk in the country. On their way they would stop at a modest inn for bread and cheese and ginger beer. When his daughters were small he would make the long walk seem shorter to them by telling them endless fantastic tales which he made up as he went, developing and intensifying the complications according to the distance they had to go, so that the little ones forgot their weariness listening.

He had an incomparably fertile Imagination: his first literary works were poems. Mrs. Marx carefully preserved the poetry her husband wrote in his youth but never showed it to anybody. His family had dreamt of him being a man of letters or a professor and thought he was debasing himself by engaging in socialist agitation and political economy, which was then disdained in Germany.

Marx had promised his daughters to write a drama on the Gracchi for them. Unfortunately he was unable to keep his word. It would have been interesting to see how he, who was called "the knight of the class struggle", would have dealt with that terrible and magnificent episode in the class struggle of the ancient world. Marx fostered a lot of plans which were never carried out. Among other works he intended to write a Logic and a History of Philosophy, the latter having been his favourite subject in his younger days. We would have needed to live to a hundred to carry out all his literary plans and present the world with a portion of the treasure hidden in his brain.

Marx's wife was his lifelong helpmate in the truest and fullest sense of the word. They had known each other as children and grown up together. Marx was only seventeen at the time of his engagement. Seven long years the young couple had to wait before they were married in 1843. After that they never parted.

Mrs. Marx died shortly before her husband. Nobody ever had a greater sense of equality than she, although she was born and bred in a German aristocratic family. No social differences or classifications existed for her. She entertained working people in their working clothes in her house and at her table with the same politeness and consideration as if they had been dukes or princes. Many workers of all countries enjoyed her hospitality and I am convinced that not one of them ever dreamt that the woman who received them with such homely and sincere cordiality descended in the female line from the family of the Dukes of Argyll and that her brother was a minister of the King of Prussia. That did not worry Mrs. Marx; she had given up everything to follow her Karl and never, not even in times of dire need, was she sorry she had done so.

She had a clear and brilliant mind. Her letters to her friends, written without constraint of effort, are masterly achievements of vigorous and original thinking. It was a treat to get a letter from Mrs. Marx. Johann Philipp Becker published several of her letters. Heine, a pitiless satirist as he was, feared Marx's irony, but he was full of admiration for the penetrating sensitive mind of his wife; when the Marxes were in Paris he was one of their regular visitors.

Marx had such respect for the intelligence and critical sense of his wife that he showed her all his manuscripts and set great store by her opinion, as he himself told me in 1866. Mrs. Marx copied out her husband's manuscripts before they were sent to the print-shop.

Mrs. Marx had a number of children. Three of them died at a tender age during the period of hardships that the family went through after the 1848 Revolution. At that time they lived as emigrants in London in two small rooms in Dean Street, Soho Square. I only knew the three daughters. When I was introduced to Marx in 1865 his youngest daughter, now Mrs. Aveling, was a charming child with a sunny disposition. Marx used to say his wife had made a mistake as to sex when she brought her into the world. The other two daughters formed a most surprising and harmonious contrast. The eldest, Mrs. Longuet, had her father's dark and vigorous complexion, dark eyes and jet-black hair. The second, Mrs. Lafargue, was fair-haired and rosy-skinned, her rich curly hair had a golden shimmer as if it had caught the rays of the setting sun: she was like her mother.

Another important member of the Marx household was Helene Demuth. Born of a peasant family, site entered the service of Mrs. Marx long before the latter's wedding, when hardly more than a child. When her mistress got married she remained with her and devoted herself with complete self-oblivion to the Marx family. She accompanied her mistress and her husband on all their journeys over Europe and shared their exile. She was the good genius of the house and could always find a way out of the most difficult situations. It was thanks to her sense of order, her economy and skill that the Marx family were at least never short of the bare essentials. There was nothing she could not do: she cooked, kept the house, dressed the children, cut clothes for them and sewed them with Mrs. Marx. She was housekeeper and major domo at the same time: she ran the whole house. The children loved her like a mother and her maternal feeling towards them gave her a mother's authority. Mrs. Marx considered her as her bosom friend and Marx fostered a particular friendship towards her; he played chess with her and often enough lost to her.

Helene loved the Marx family blindly: anything they did was good in her eyes and could not be otherwise; who ever criticised Marx had to deal with her. She extended her motherly protection to everyone who was admitted to intimacy with the Marxes. It was as though she had adopted all of the Marx family. She outlived Marx and his wife and transferred her care to Engels' household. She had known him since she was a girl and extended to him the attachment she had for the Marx family.

Engels was, so to speak a member of the Marx family. Marx's daughters called him their second father. He was Marx's alter ego. For a long time the two names were never separated in Germany and they will be for ever united in history.

Marx and Engels were the personification in our time of the ideal friendship portrayed by the poets of antiquity. From their youth they developed together an parallel to each other, lived in intimate fellowship of ideas and feelings and shared the same revolutionary agitation; as long as they could live together they worked in common. Had events not parted them for about twenty years they would probably have worked together their whole life. But after the defeat of the 1848 Revolution Engels had to go to Manchester, while Marx was obliged to remain in London. Even so, they continued their common intellectual life by writing to each other almost daily, giving their views on political and scientific events and their work. As soon as Engels was able to free himself from his work he hurried from Manchester to London, where he set up his home only ten minutes away from his dear Marx. From 1870 to the death of his friend not a day went by but the two men saw each other, sometimes at one's house, sometimes at the other's.

It was a day of rejoicing for the Marxes when Engels informed them that he was coming from Manchester. His pending visit was spoken of long beforehand, and on the day of his arrival Marx was so impatient that he could not work. The two friends spent the whole night smoking and drinking together and talking over all that had happened since their last meeting.

Marx appreciated Engels' opinion more than anybody else's, for Engels was the man he considered capable of being his collaborator. For him Engels was a whole audience. No effort could have been too great for Marx to convince Engels and win him over to his ideas. For instance, I have seen him read whole volumes over and over to find the fact he needed to change Engels' opinion on some secondary point that I do not remember concerning the political and religious wars of the Albigenses. It was a triumph for Marx to bring Engels round to his opinion.

Marx was proud of Engels. He took pleasure in enumerating to me all his moral and intellectual qualities. He once specially made the journey to Manchester with me to introduce me to him. He admired the versatility of his knowledge and was alarmed at the slightest thing that could befall him. "I always tremble," he said to me, "for fear he should meet with an accident at the chase. He is so impetuous; he goes galloping over the fields with slackened reins, not shying at any obstacle."

Marx was as good a friend as he was a loving husband and father. In his wife and daughters, Helene and Engels, he found worthy objects of love for a man such as he was.


Having started as leader of the radical bourgeoisie, Marx found himself deserted as soon as his opposition became too resolute and looked upon as an enemy as soon as he became a socialist. He was baited and expelled from Germany after being decried and calumniated, and then there was a conspiracy of silence against him and his work. The Eighteenth Brumaire, which proves that Marx was the only historian and politician of 1848 who understood and disclosed the real nature of the causes and results of the coup d'etat of December 2, 1851, was completely ignored. In spite of the actuality of the work not a single bourgeois newspaper even mentioned it.

The Poverty of Philosophy, an answer to the Philosophy of Poverty, and A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy were likewise ignored. The First International and the first book of Capital broke this conspiracy of silence after it had lasted fifteen years. Marx could no longer he ignored: the International developed and filled the world with the glory of its achievements. Although Marx kept in the background and let others act it was soon discovered who the man behind the scenes was.

The Social-Democratic Party was founded in Germany and became a power that Bismarck courted before he attacked it. Schweitzer, a follower of Lassalle, published a series of articles, which Marx highly praised, to bring Capital to the knowledge of the working public. On a motion by Johann Philipp Becker the Congress of the International adopted a resolution directing the attention of socialists in all countries to Capital as to the "Bible of the working class".

After the rising on March 18, 1871, in which people tried to see the work of the International, and after the defeat of the Commune, which the General Council of the First International took it upon itself to defend against the rage of the bourgeois press in all countries, Marx's name became known to the whole world. He was acknowledged as the greatest theoretician of scientific socialism and the organiser of the first international working-class movement.

Capital became the manual of socialists in all countries. All socialist and working-class papers spread its scientific theories. During a big strike which broke out in New York extracts from Capital were published in the form of leaflets to inspire the workers to endurance and show them how justified their claims were.

Capital was translated into the main European languages--Russian, French and English, and extracts were published in German, Italian, French, Spanish and Dutch. Every time attempts were made by opponents in Europe or America to refute its theories, the economists immediately got a socialist reply which closed their mouths. Capital is really today what it was called by the Congress of the International--the Bible of the working class.

The share Marx had to take in the international socialist movement took time from his scientific activity. The death of his wife and that of his eldest daughter, Mrs. Longuet, also had an adverse effect upon it.

Marx's love for his wife was profound and intimate. Her beauty had been his pride and his joy, her gentleness and devotedness had lightened for him the hardships necessarily resulting from his eventful life as a revolutionary socialist. The disease which led to the death of Jenny Marx also shortened the life of her husband. During her long and painful illness Marx, exhausted by sleeplessness and lack of exercise and fresh air and morally weary, contracted the pneumonia which was to snatch him away.

On December 2, 1881, Mrs. Marx died as she had lived, a Communist and a materialist. Death had no terrors for her. When she felt her end approach she exclaimed: "Karl, my strength is ebbing." Those were her last intelligible words.

She was buried in Highgate Cemetery, in unconsecrated ground, on December 5. Conforming to the habits of her life and Marx's, all care was taken to avoid her funeral being made a public one and only a few close friends accompanied her to her last resting-place. Marx's old friend Engels delivered the address over her grave.....

After the death of his wife, Marx's life was a succession of physical and moral sufferings which he bore with great fortitude. They were aggravated by the sudden death of his eldest daughter, Mrs. Longuet, a year later. He was broken, never to recover.

He died at his desk on March 14, 1883, at the age of sixty-four.


Paul Lafargue's

Source: The Right To Be Lazy and Other Studies

Translated: Charles Kerr

First Published: Charles Kerr and Co., Co-operative, 1883

Online Version: Lafargue Internet Archive ( 2000

Transcription/Markup: Sally Ryan

Our comrades in Germany were discussing some time since the question whether Socialism is a science. Socialism is not and cannot be a science for the simple reason that it is a political party and must disappear when its work is accomplished after the abolition of the classes which gave birth to it; but the end which it pursues is scientific.

Guizot, who had a vague idea of the theory of the class struggle -- himself a product of the Revolution, which was a dramatic struggle between classes -- said with good reason that a class cannot emancipate itself until it possesses the qualities requisite for taking the leadership of society; now one of these qualities is to have a more or less definite conception of the social order which it proposes to substitute for that which is oppressing it. This conception cannot but be a social ideal, or, to employ a scientific word, a social hypothesis; but an hypothesis, as well in the natural sciences as in social science, may be utopian or scientific.

Socialism, because it is a political parts of the oppressed class, has therefore an ideal. It groups and organizes the efforts of the individuals who wish to build on the ruins of capitalist society, based upon individual property, an ideal or hypothetical society based upon common property in the means of production.

Only through the class struggle can modern socialism realize its social ideal, which possesses the dualities demanded of any hypothesis that claims a scientific character. The fact of choosing a scientific goal, and of trying to reach it only through the class struggle, distinguishes it from the Socialism of 1848, which was pursuing through the reconciliation of classes a social ideal which could not but be utopian considering the historic moment in which it was conceived. Socialism has thus evolved from Utopia into science. Engels has traced the main lines of this evolution in his memorable pamphlet, "Socialism, Utopian and Scientific." It is the same with all sciences, which begin with Utopia to arrive at positive knowledge; this course is imposed by the very nature of the human mind.

Man progresses in social life as in intellectual life, only by starting from the known and traveling toward the unknown, and that unknown must be represented by the imagination; that imaginary conception of the unknown, which cannot but be hypothetical, is one of the most powerful incentives to action, it is the very condition of every forward step. It is natural that men like Bernstein in Germany and Jaurès in France should seek to domesticate Socialism and to put it in tow of liberalism, accusing it of hypnotising its soldiers with an ideal of the year 3000, which makes them live in the expectation of a Messianic "catastrophe" and reject the immediate advantages of an understanding and cooperation with bourgeois parties, and which blinds them to their shocking errors regarding the concentration of wealth, the disappearance of small industry and the middle class, the increase of class antagonisms, the spreading and intensification of the misery of the working class, etc. These errors may have been plausible hypotheses before 1848, but since then events have shown their falsity. This unfortunate ideal prevents them from descending from the revolutionary heights to accept the responsibilities of power and of setting aside the cause of labor to devote themselves entirely tongue and pen, to the rehabilitation of a millionaire leader; it obliges them to oppose all exterior policies and acts, to vote not a cent nor a soldier for colonial expeditions, which carry labor, Christianity, syphilis and the alcoholism of civilization to the barbaric tribes. The neo-methodists of the ancient and outworn gospel of the brotherhood of classes advise the socialists to suppress their ideal, or, since it unfortunately captivates the masses of the people, to speak of it without caring for it, as Jaurès does, that they may consecrate themselves to practical necessities, to the vast plans of agricultural and industrial co-operation, to popular universities, etc.

The dilettantes of politics, these practical groundlings of opportunism, nevertheless hold themselves up for transcendent idealists and march with their eyes fixed upon the stars, because they substitute for ideas a brilliant orchestra of sonorous words and eternal principles.

These bourgeois idealists edge their way in everywhere; after the Revolution of 1789 they rebuked the scientists for their hypotheses and their theories; according to them science should have stopped with the study of facts in themselves without dreaming of uniting them into a general system. "What is the use of cutting stones without putting up a building," replied Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, the genial disciple of Lamarck, who lived to see the extinction of his theory on the continuity of species, which, only thirty years after his death, was to take on a new birth with Darwin. They are still reproaching the physiologists for wasting their time in elaborating hypotheses which last on an average only three years and which cannot explain what takes place in a muscle which contracts and in a brain which thinks. They grumble against the hypotheses of the physicists, who do not know the real nature of elasticity, of electrical conductivity, or even what happens when a particle of sugar is dissolved. They would like to prohibit scientists from any speculation because it is disastrous and may lead into error. But the latter protest and declare that imagination is one of the first and most indispensable faculties of the scientist, and that the hypotheses to which they give birth, even though they be erroneous and able to survive only three years are nevertheless the necessary condition of all scientific progress.

If the communist ideal were an hypothesis undemonstrable and false it would still be a propelling force of social progress, but such is not the case.

The hypothesis in science, as in the social field, is the more undemonstrable and susceptible of error in proportion as the data contributing to its elaboration are less numerous and more uncertain. Greek science, which had to furnish a conception of the world when the data regarding the phenomena of nature were of the most rudimentary, was obliged to resort to hypotheses which for boldness and intuitive accuracy are marvels of history and of thought; after having admitted, according to the vulgar opinion, that the earth was flat, and that the temple of Delphi was situated at its center, they put forth the hypothesis of its spherical form, then undemonstrable.

Socialism, which dates from the first years of the nineteenth century, started, like Greek science, from hypotheses the more erroneous, and from ideal the more utopian, in that the social world which it proposed to transform was less known; and at that epoch could not be known for the excellent reason that it was in course of formation.

The machine operated by steam was beginning to edge into industry where the tool, managed by the artisan, was moved by human power, and in some rare circumstances by animals, wind or waterfalls. The Socialist thinkers, as Engels observes, were then obliged to draw from their own brain the social ideal which they could not extract from the tumultuous economic environment in full course of transformation. They grasped again, infusing new life into it, the communist ideal which has slumbered in the mind of man since he emerged from the communism of primitive society which the poetic Greek mythology calls the golden age and which has awakened to shine here and there with a glorious splendor at great epochs of social upheaval. They sought, then, to establish communism, not because the economic environment was ready for its introduction, but because men were miserable, because the laws of justice and equality were violated, because the precepts of the Christ could not be followed in their purity. The communistic ideal, not springing from economic reality, was then but an unconscious reminiscence of a prehistoric past, and came only from idealistic notions upon a justice, an equality and a gospel law no less idealistic; it is then idealistic in the second degree, and consequently utopian.

The Socialists of the first half of the nineteenth century, who rekindled the communist ideal, had the rare merit of giving it a consistency less idealistic. They spoke little of the Christian religion, of justice and of equality; Robert Owen laid the responsibilities of social evils upon the family, property and religion; Charles Fourier criticises the ideas of justice and morality introduced by the bourgeois Revolution of '89 with incomparable animation and irony. They did not weep over the misery of the poor, but left that to Victor Hugo and the charlatans of romanticism. They preached the social problem from its realistic side, the only side from which it can be solved. They used their talents to prove that a social organization of production would succeed in satisfying the desires of all without reducing the share of any, not even that of the privileged capitalist class. Meanwhile the recent application of steam and machinery demanded also a new organization of labor, and this was the constant concern of the industrial bourgeoisie. The socialists were thus pursuing the same end as the industrials; bourgeois and socialists might consequently come to an understanding. We therefore find in the socialist sects of that epoch industrials, engineers and financiers who in the second half of the century cast away their sympathy for the workers and occupied an important place in capitalist society.

The socialism of that epoch could not under these conditions be anything else than pacific; instead of entering on the struggle with the capitalists, the socialists thought only of converting them to their system of social reform from which they were to he the first to benefit. They proclaimed the association of capital, intelligence and labor, the interests of which according to them, were identical! they preached a mutual understanding between the employer and the employed, between the exploiter and the exploited; they know no class struggle: they condemned strikes and all political agitation, especially if it were revolutionary; they desired order in the street and harmony in the workshop. They demanded, finally, nothing more than was desired by the new industrial bourgeoisie.

They foresaw that industry, strengthened by the motive power of steam, machinery and the concentration of the instruments of labor, would have a colossal producing power, and they had the simplicity to believe that the capitalists would content themselves with taking only a reasonable part of the wealth thus created, and would leave to their co-operators, the manual and intellectual laborers, a portion sufficient to enable them to live in comfort. This socialism was marvellously agreeable to capital, since it promised an increase of wealth and advised an understanding between the laborer and the employer. It recruited the great majority of its adepts in the educational hotbeds of the bourgeoisie. It was utopian, therefore it was the socialism of the intellectuals.

But precisely because it was utopian, the laborers, in constant antagonism with their employers on questions of labor and hours, looked on it with suspicion. They could understand nothing of this socialism which condemned strikes and political action and which assumed to harmonize the interests of capital and labor, of the exploiter and exploited. They kept aloof from the socialists and gave all their sympathies to the bourgeois republicans, because they were revolutionary. They joined their secret societies and climbed with them upon the barricades to make riots and political revolutions.

Marx and Engels took socialism at the point to which the great utopians had brought it, but instead of torturing their brains to improvise the organization of labor and of production, they studied that which was already created by the very necessities of the new mechanical industry which had arrived at a degree of development sufficient to permit its power and its tendency to be apparent. Its productivity was so enormous; as Fourier and Saint Simon had foreseen, that it was capable of providing abundantly for the normal needs of all the members of society. This was the first time in history that such a productive power had been observed, and it was because capitalist production could satisfy all needs, and for that reason alone, that it is possible to reintroduce communism, that is to say the equal participation of all in social wealth, and the free and complete development of the physical, intellectual and moral faculties. Communism is no longer a utopia but a possibility.

Machinery replaces the individualistic production of the small industry, by the communistic production of the capitalistic factory, but property in the means of labor has remained individual, as in the time of the small industry. There is then a contradiction between the individualistic mode of possession and the communist mode of production and this contradiction translates itself into the antagonism between the laborer and the capitalist employer. The producers, who form the immense majority of the nation, no longer possess the instruments of labor, the possession of which is centralized in the idle hands of a decreasing minority. The social problem imposed by mechanical production will be solved, as the social problems imposed by preceding modes of production have been solved, by precipitating the evolution begun by economic force, by, finishing the expropriation of the individual in the means of production, by giving to the communistic mode of possession which it demands.

The communism of contemporary socialists no longer proceeds, like that of former times, from the cerebral lucubrations of gifted thinkers; it proceeds from economic reality, it is the final goal of the economic forces which, without attracting the attention of the capitalists and their intellectuals, have fashioned the communistic mold of a new society, the coming of which we only have to hasten. Communism, then, is no longer a utopian hypothesis; it is a scientific ideal. It may be added that never has the economic structure of any society been better and more completely analyzed than capitalist society, and that never was a social ideal conceived with such numerous and positive data as the communist idea of modern socialism.

Although it is the economic forces which fashion men at the pleasure and spur them to action, and although these constitute the mysterious force determining the great currents of history which the Christians attribute to God, and the free-thinking bourgeois assign to Progress, to Civilization, to the Immortal Principles and other similar manitous, worthy of savage tribes, they are nevertheless the product of human activity. Man, who created them and brought them into the world, has thus far let himself be guided by them; yet now that he has understood their nature and grasped their tendency, he can act upon their evolution. The socialists who are accused of being stricken by Oriental fatalism and of relying upon the good pleasure of economic forces to bring to light the communist society instead of crossing their arms like the fakirs of official Economics, and of bending the knee before its fundamental dogma, laissez faire, laissez passer, propose on the contrary to subdue them, as the blind forces of nature have been subdued, and force them to do good to men instead of leaving them to work misery to the toilers of civilization. They do not wait for their ideal to fall from heaven as the Christians hope for the grace of God, and the capitalists for wealth, they prepare, on the contrary, to realize it, not by appealing to the intelligence of the capitalist class and to its sentiments of justice and humanity, but by fighting it, by expropriating it from its political power, which protects its economic despotism.

Socialism, because it possesses a social ideal, has in consequence a criticism of its own. Every class which struggles for its enfranchisement seeks to realize a social ideal, in complete opposition with that of the ruling class. The struggle is waged at first in the ideological world before the physical shock of the revolutionary battle. It thus begins the criticism of the ideas of the society which must he revolted against, for "the ideas of the ruling class are the ideas of society," or these ideas are the intellectual reflection of its material interests.

Thus, the wealth of the ruling class is produced by slave labor; religion, ethics, philosophy and literature agree in authorizing slavery. The ugly God of the Jews and Christianity strikes with his curse the progeny of Ham, that it may furnish slaves. Aristotle, the encyclopedic thinker of Greek philosophy, declares that slaves are predestined by nature and that no rights exist for them, for there can be no rights except between equals. Euripides in his tragedies preaches the doctrine of servile morality; St. Paul, St. Augustine and the Church teach slaves submission to their earthly masters that they may deserve the favor of their heavenly master; Christian civilization introduced slavery into America and maintains it there until economic phenomena prove that slave labor is a method of exploitation more costly, and less profitable than free labor.

At the epoch when the Greco-Roman civilization was dissolving, when the labor of artisans and free workers began to be substituted for slave labor, pagan religion, philosophy and literature decided to accord them certain rights. The same Euripides who advised the slave to lose his personality in that of the master does not wish him to be despised. "There is nothing shameful in slavery but the name," says the pedagogue in Ion, "the slave, moreover, is not inferior to the free man when he has a noble heart." The mysteries of Eleusis and of Orphism, like Christianity, which continues their work, admit slaves among their initiated and promise them liberty, equality and happiness after death.

The dominating class of the Middle Ages being military, the Christian religion and social ethics condemned lending money at interest, and covered the lender with infamy; to take interest for money loaned was then something so ignominious that the Jewish race, obliged to specialize itself in the trade of money, still bears the shame of it. But to-day, now that the Christians have become Jews, and the ruling class lives on the interest of its capital, the trade of the lender at interest is the most honorable, the most desirable, the most exclusive.

The oppressed class, although the ideology of the oppressing class is imposed upon it, nevertheless elaborates religious, ethical and political ideas corresponding to its condition of life; vague and secret at first, the gain in precision and force in proportion as the oppressed class takes definite form and acquires the consciousness of its social utility and of its strength; and the hour of its emancipation is near when its conception of nature and of society opposes itself openly and boldly to that of the ruling class.

The economic conditions in which the bourgeois moves and evolves make of it a class essentially religious. Christianity is its work and will last as long as this class shall rule society. Seven or eight centuries before Christ, when the bourgeoisie had its birth in the commercial and industrial cities of the Mediterranean sea, we may observe the elaboration of a new religion; the gods of paganism created by warrior tribes could not be suited to a class consecrated to the production and sale of merchandise. Mysterious cults (the mysteries of the Cabiri, of Demeter, of Dionysus, etc.) revive the religious traditions of the prehistoric matriarchical period; the idea of a soul and its existence after death revive; the idea of posthumous punishments and rewards to compensate for acts of social injustice are introduced, etc. These religious elements, combined with the intellectual data of Greek philosophy, contribute to form Christianity, the religion, par excellence, of societies which have for their foundation property belonging to the individual and the class which enrich themselves by the exploitation of wage labor. For fifteen centuries all the movements of the bourgeoisie, either for organization, or for self-emancipation, or for the acquisition of power have been accompanied and complicated by religious crises; but always Christianity more or less modified remains the religion of society. The revolutionists of 1789, who in the ardor of the struggle promised themselves to de-Christianize France, were eager when the bourgeoisie were victorious to raise again the altars they had overthrown and to reintroduce the cult that they had proscribed.

The economic environment which produces the proletariat relieves it on the contrary from every idea of sentiment. There is not seen either in Europe nor in America among the laboring masses of the great industries any anxiety to elaborate a religion to replace Christianity, nor any desire to reform it. The economic and political organizations of the working class are completely uninterested as to any doctrinal discussion of religious and spiritual dogmas, although they combat the priests of all cults because they are the lackeys of the capitalist class.

The victory of the proletariat will deliver humanity from the nightmare of religion. The belief in superior beings to explain the natural world and the social inequality, and to prolong the dominion of the ruling class, and the belief in the posthumous existence of the soul to recompense the inequality of fate will have no more justification once man, who has already grasped the general causes of the phenomena of nature, shall live in a communist society from whence shall have disappeared the inequality and the injustice of capitalistic society.

The militant socialists, following the example of the encyclopedists of the eighteenth century, have to make a merciless criticism of the economic, political, historical, philosophical, moral and religious ideas of the capitalist class in order to prepare in all spheres of thought the triumph of the new ideology which the proletariat introduces into the world.


Paul Lafargue's

Source: The Right To Be Lazy and Other Studies

Translated: Charles Kerr

First Published: Charles Kerr and Co., Co-operative, 1883

Online Version: Lafargue Internet Archive ( 2000

Transcription/Markup: Sally Ryan


Ladies and Gentlemen:—I am happy to deliver this address under the presidency of Vaillant, because it is a pledge of the close and lasting union between our two organizations, and because Vaillant is one of the intellectuals of the socialist party; he is acknowledged to be the most learned of French socialists and perhaps of European socialists, now that Marx. Engels and Lavroff are no longer with us.

The group of collectivist students which has organized this conference, has been led to choose this subject, because French socialism has just passed through a crisis which is not exactly one of growth, though such it has been called, but which has been caused by the arrival of a certain number of bourgeois intellectuals within the ranks of the party. It is therefore interesting to examine the situation of the intellectuals in capitalist society, their historic role since the revolution of 1789, and the manner in which the bourgeoisie has kept the promises it made them when it was struggling against the aristocracy.

The eighteenth century was the century of reason—everything, religion, philosophy, science, politics, privileges of classes, of the state, of municipalities, was submitted to its pitiless criticism. Never in history has there been such a fermentation of ideas and such a revolutionary preparation of men's minds. Mirabeau, who himself played a great role in the ideological agitation, might well say in the national assembly: "We have no time to think, but happily, we have a supply of ideas." All that was needed was to realize them. Capitalism, to reward the intellectuals who had labored with so much enthusiasm for the coming of its revolution, promised them honors and favors; intelligence and wisdom, as well as virtue, should be the sole privileges of the society it was founding upon the ruins of the old order. Promises cost it little; it announced to all men that it brought them joy and happiness, with liberty, equality and fraternity, which, although eternal principles, were now born for the first time. Its social world was to be so new that even before the Republic was proclaimed, Camille Desmoulins demanded that they begin a new era which should date from the taking of the Bastile.

I need not teach you what application capitalism has made of these eternal principles which by way of cynical raillery, the Republic carves on the lintels of her prisons, her penitentiaries, her barracks and her halls of state. I will only remind you that savage and barbarous tribes, uncorrupted by civilization, living under the regime of common property, without inscribing anywhere these eternal principles, without even formulating them, practice them in a manner more perfect than ever was dreamed of by the capitalists who discovered them in 1789.

It did not take long to determine the value of the promises of capitalism; the very day it opened its political shop, it commenced proceedings in bankruptcy. The constituent assembly, which formulated the Rights of man and of the citizen and proclaimed equality before the law, discussed and voted, in 1790, an electoral act which established inequality before the law, no one was to be a voter but the "active citizen," paying in money a direct tax equal to three days' labor, and no one was to be eligible to office but the citizen paying a direct tax of a "silver mark," about 55 francs. "But under the law of the silver mark," clamored Loustalot, Desmoulins and the intellectualists without real estate, "Jean Jacques Rousseau, whose 'Social Contract is the bible of the revolution, would be capable neither of voting nor of holding office." The electoral law deprived so many citizens of political rights, that in the municipal elections of 1790, at Paris, a city which counted about half a million inhabitants, there were but 12,000 voters, Bailly was chosen mayor by 10,000 votes.

If the eternal principles were not new, it is also true that the flattering promises made by the intellectuals had already begun to be realized before the advent of capitalism to power. The church, which is a theocratic democracy, opens her bosom to all. That they may enter, all lay aside their titles and privileges, and all can aspire to the highest positions; popes have risen from the lower ranks of society. Sixtus Fifth had in his youth tended swine. The church of the middle ages jealously attracted to herself the thinkers and men of learning, although she respected the preference of those who wished to remain laymen, but extended over them her protection and her favors; she allowed them all boldness of thought, on the single condition of keeping up the appearance of faith, and never leaving her enclosure to lavish themselves upon the vulgar. Thus Copernicus might write and dedicate to the pope his "treatise on the revolutions of the celestial bodies," in which, contrary to the teaching of the Bible, he proves that the earth turns around the sun. But Copernicus was a canon at Frannhourg and he wrote in Latin. When a century later Galileo, who was not identified with the clergy and who on the contrary sought the protection of the secular authorities, professed publicly, at Venice and Florence, the theories of Copernicus, the Vatican stretched out its terrible hand over him and forced the illustrious old man to deny his scientific belief. Even after the crisis of Protestantism, the church preserved its liberality toward the scientists who belonged to it. Mersenne, a monk of the order of the Minimes, one of the great geometers of the seventeenth century, a precursor and friend of Descartes, corresponded freely with Hobbes, the father of modern materialism; the notes of the French edition of "De Cive" contain fragments of this correspondence.

The church, in keeping up this liberal conduct, may have been animated by a disinterested love of pure science, but what chiefly concerned her was the interest of her dominancy; she wished to monopolize the intellectuals and science, just as in the old theocratic Egypt the priests had done to whom the Greek thinkers resorted in search of the first elements of science and philosophy.

It would be insulting capitalism to attribute to it a disinterested love of science, which from its point of view has but one reason for existence, that of utilizing natural forces to the enhancement of its wealth. It cares nothing for pure speculation and it is by way of self-defence that it allows its scientists to devote their mental energy to theoretic researches instead of exhausting it on practical applications. This contempt for pure speculation is shown under a philosophic form in the positivism of Auguste Comte, who embodies so well the narrowness of the groveling spirit of capitalism.

But if science apart from its industrial applications does not interest the bourgeoisie their solicitude for the intellectuals takes on none of the forms which we saw in that of the church, and nowhere is their indifference to them better shown than in the relative position of material property and of intellectual property before the law.

Material property, whatever its origin, is by capitalist law a thing eternal; it is forever assured to its possessor; it is handed down from father to son to the end of the centuries, and no civil or political power may lay upon it a sacrilegious hand. We have lately seen a characteristic example of this inviolability of material property.

The keeper of the signal station at Durban transmitted to the Boers heliographic dispatches informing them regarding the ships which entered the harbor, the men, the horses and the munitions of war which they transported. His treason brought him 125,000 francs, which, like an intelligent capitalist, he deposited in the bank. The English military authorities seized the traitor, condemned him and shot him, but they respected his property so honorably acquired, and his widow and son are now its legitimate possessors. The law, apart from certain variations, being the same in all capitalist countries, things go on in France as in England. No authority could lap hand on the property of Bazaine, nor make De Lesseps, Cottu and their families disgorge the millions artfully extracted from the "lambs" on Panama canal stock.

This legal sanctity of property is a new thing, in France it dates from the revolution of 1789. The old regime, which had small respect for this sort of property, authorized the confiscation of the property of those legally condemned, and the abolition of confiscation is one of the first reforms demanded in the petitions of Paris and several provincial cities to the states general. Capitalism, by forbidding the confiscation of property obtained by fraudulent and infamous means, proclaims that the source of its fortune is quite as fraudulent and infamous as that of criminals and traitors.

Capitalist law has none of these amenities for intellectual property. Literary and artistic property such as the law protects at all has but a precarious life, limited to the life of the author and a certain time after his death—fifty years according to the latest legislation; that time passed, it lapses into common property; for example, beginning with March of this year, any publisher has the right to bring out for his own profit the works of Balzac, the genius of romantic literature.

Literary property, though a matter of interest to publishers, who are certainly few in number, brings no benefit to the mass of the capitalist class, but not so with property in inventions, which is of prime importance to all the manufacturing and mercantile capitalists. Consequently over it the law extends no protection. The inventor, if he wishes to defend his intellectual property against capitalist pirates, must begin by buying that right, taking out a patent, which he must renew every year; on the day he misses a payment, his intellectual property becomes the lawful prey of the robbers of capitalism. Even if he pays, he can secure that right only for a time: in France, fourteen years. And during these few years, not long enough generally to get his invention fully introduced into practical industry, it is he, the inventor, who at his own expense has to set in motion the machinery of the law against the capitalist pirates who rob him.

The trade-mark, which is a capitalistic property that never required ally intellectual effort, is on the contrary indefinitely protected by law like material property.

It is with reluctance that the capitalist class has granted the inventor the right of defending his intellectual property, for by virtue of its position as the ruling class it regards itself as entitled to the fruits of intellectual labor as well as of manual labor; just as the feudal lord asserted his right of possession over the property of his serfs. The history of the inventors of our century is the monstrous story of their spoliation by the capitalists; it is a long and melancholy roll of martyrs. The inventor, by the very fact of his genius, is condemned with his family to ruin and suffering.

It is not only inventions requiring long and laborious study, heavy outlay for their completion and long time for their introduction, that plunge the inventor into the inferno of poverty; this is equally true of inventions that are most simple, most immediately applicable and most fertile in rich results. I will mention but one example: there lately died at Paris in extreme poverty a man whose invention saves millions of francs a year to the railroads and mining companies; he had discovered a way to utilize the mountains of coal dust that encumbered the neighborhood of wharfs and mines by converting it into "briquettes," such as are today in common use for fuel.

The capitalist bourgeoisie, the most revolutionary class that ever oppressed human societies, cannot increase its wealth without continuously revolutionizing the means of production, continuously incorporating into its industrial equipment new applications of mechanics, chemistry and physics. Its thirst for inventions is so insatiable that it creates factories for inventions. Certain American capitalists united in constructing for Edison at Menlo Park the most wonderful laboratory in the world, and in putting at his disposal trained scientists, chosen workmen, and the ordinary materials necessary to make and keep on making inventions which the capitalists patent, exploit or sell. Edison, who is himself a shrewd business man, has taken care to secure for himself a part of the benefits brought by the Menlo Park inventions.

But not all inventors are able like Edison to dictate terms to the capitalists who equip invention factories. The Thompson-Houston Company at Paris and Siemens at London and Berlin, in connection with their plants for turning out electrical machinery, have laboratories where ingenious men are kept busy searching out new applications of electricity. At Frankfort the manufactory of aniline dyes, the largest in the world, where anti-pyrine, that mineral quinine, was discovered, keeps on its payroll more than a hundred chemists to discover new products of coal-tar. Each discovery is at once patented by the house, which, by way of encouragement, gives a reward to the inventor.

We may up to a certain point regard all factories and workshops as laboratories for inventions, since a considerable number of improvements in machinery have been devised by workmen in the course of their work. The inventor having no money to patent and apply his discovery, the employer takes out the patent in his own name, and in accordance with the spirit of capitalist justice, it is he who reaps all the benefit. When the government takes it into its head to rewards talent, it is the employer who receives the decoration; the inventive workman, who is not an intellectual, continues to revolve like the other machines under the black and greasy number which distinguishes him, and as in this capitalist world he must be content with little, he consoles himself for his poverty by the reflection that his invention is bringing wealth and honor to his employer.

The capitalist class, which to increase its wealth is in pressing treed of inventions, is in even more imperative need of intellectuals to supervise their application and to direct its industrial machinery. The capitalists, before they equipped invention factories, had organized factories to turn out intellectuals. Dollfus, Scherer-Kestner and other employees of Alsace, the most intelligent, most philanthropic and consequently the heaviest exploiters in France before the war, had founded with their spare pennies at Mulhouse, schools of design, of chemistry and of physics, where the brightest children of their workmen were instructed gratis, in order that they might always have at hand and at reasonable figure the intellectual capacities required for carrying on their industries. Twenty years ago the directors of the Mulhouse school persuaded the municipal council of Paris to establish the city school of chemistry and physics. At the beginning, whether it is still the case I do not know, the pupils were recruited in the common schools, they received a higher education, gratis, a dinner at noon at the school, and fifty francs a month to indemnify the parents for the loss from the fact that their sons were not in the work-shop.

On the platform of the constituent assembly of 1790 the Marquis of Foucault could declare that to be a laborer it was not necessary to know how to read and write. The necessities of industrial production compel the capitalist of today to speak in language altogether different: his economic interests and not his love of humanity and of science force him to encourage and to develop both elementary and higher education.

But the slave merchants of ancient Rome were, by the same title, patrons of education. To the more intelligent of their human merchandise they gave instruction in medicine, philosophy, Greek literature, music, science, etc. The education of the slave enhanced his market value. The slave who was an expert cook brought a better figure than the slave doctor, philosopher or literator. In our days it is still so; the big capitalists pay their chief cooks better than the state pays the professors of liberal arts, even though they be members of the Institute. But contrary to the practice of the Roman slave merchants, our capitalist class lavishes instruction only in order to depress the selling price of intellectual capacity.

Greek mythology tells how Midas had the gift of turning everything into gold; the capitalist class has a similar property, it transforms everything that it touches into merchandise; it has done this for intellectual capacities; chemists, engineers and Latin scholars are bought like sheasses and guano.

A voice: "And they buy deputies, too!"

People who have no tallow nor veal nor socks to sell have their conscience and their votes; when they are deputies, they are bought.

When intellectual capacities become merchandise they have to be treated like other merchandise, and they are. When there are many oysters in the market the price of oysters goes down, but when the arrivals are scarce the price goes up. When chemists and engineers are plenty on the labor market, the price of inventors and of chemists goes down. Now that the Central School and the School of Physics and Chemistry turn out yearly upon the pavements of Paris chemists by the dozen, their price has considerably gone down. Twenty years ago the capitalist paid a chemist reasonably, he gave him $100 to $120 a month and engaged him by the year. The employers whose regard for an employee is measured by what they have to pay him, were full of politeness and consideration for their chemists who cost so dear. But since they have been abundant, their price has fallen to $40 and $30 a month; in the north they are not engaged by the year but for the sugar season, which lasts three or four months, at the end of which they are discharged with the workmen. Go and shift for yourself, says the employer. Next fall when the beets come I know I shall find chemists to superintend making them into sugar.

The chemists are not exceptional: you know only too well that in all branches there is an overproduction of intellectuals, and that when a place is vacant, tens and hundreds offer themselves to fill it; and it is this pressure which permits the capitalists to lower the price of the intellectuals and to put it even below the wage of the manual laborer.

Poverty is harder for the intellectual than for the workingman; it bruises him morally and physically. The workingman, enduring hard ships from childhood and knocking about the street and the shops, is accustomed to enduring the troubles of life; the intellectual, brought up in a hot-house, has the life bleached out of him by the shadow of the college walls, his nervous system is over-developed and takes on an unhealthy impressionability. What the workingman endures thoughtlessly is to him a painful shock. The intellectual is wounded to the depths of his moral being by the exigencies of a wageworker's life. With the same or even a higher wage the intellectual is in a worse economic condition than the laborer, for the latter may dress as cheaply as he likes, but the former, if only not to offend the eye of his employer and his chiefs with whom he is brought in contact is obliged to dress expensively and even elegantly. He must save on his food what he has to spend on his clothing.

The capitalists have degraded the intellectuals below the economic level of the manual laborers. This is their reward for having so magnificently prepared the way for the bourgeois revolution of the eighteenth century.

Jaures in his preface to the Socialist History of France says that "the intellectual bourgeoisie, offended by a brutal and commercial society and disenchanted with the bourgeois power, is rallying to the support of socialism." Unfortunately nothing could be less exact. This transformation of the intellectual faculties into merchandise, which ought to have filled the intellectuals with wrath and indignation, leaves them indifferent. Never would the free citizen of the ancient republics of Athens and Rome have submitted to such degradation The free man who sells his work, says Cicero, lowers himself to the rank of the slaves. Socrates and Plato were indignant against the Sophists who required pay for their philosophic teaching, for to Socrates and Plato thought was too noble a thing to be bought and sold like carrots and shoes. Even the French clergy of 1789 resented as a mortal insult the proposition to pay a salary for worship. But our intellectuals are accustoming themselves to such degradation.

Spurred on by the mercantile passion, they are never better satisfied with themselves or with society than when they succeed in selling their intellectual merchandise at a good price; they have even come to the point of making its selling price the measure of its value. Zola, who is one of the most distinguished representatives of literary intellectualism, estimates the artistic value of a novel by the number of editions sold. To sell their intellectual merchandise has become in them such an all-absorbing principle that if one speaks to them of socialism, before they inquire into its theories, they ask whether in the socialistic society intellectual labor will be paid for and whether it will be rewarded equally with manual labor.

Imbeciles! they have eyes but they see not that it is the capitalist bourgeoisie which establishes that degrading equality; and to increase its wealth degrades intellectual labor to the point of paying it at a lower rate than manual labor.

We should have to put off the triumph of socialism not to the year 2,000 but to the end of the world if we had to wait upon the delicate, shrinking and impressionable hesitancy of the intellectuals. The history of the century is at hand to teach us just how much we have a right to expect from these gentlemen.

Since 1789 governments of the most diverse and opposed character have succeeded each other in France; and always, without hesitation, the intellectuals have hastened to offer their devoted services. I am not merely speakings of those two-for-a-cent intellectuals who litter up the newspapers, the parliaments and the economic associations: but I mean the scientists, the university professors, the members of the Institute; the higher they raise their heads, the lower they bow the knee.

Princes of science, who ought to have conversed on equal terms with kings and emperors, have marketed their glory to buy offices and favors from ephemeral ministers. Cuvier, one of the mightiest geniuses of the modern era, whom the revolution took from the household of a nobleman to make of him at twenty-five years one of the Museum professors, Cuvier took the oath of allegiance and served with fidelity the Republic. Napoleon. Louis XVIII, Charles X and Louis Philippe, the last of whom created him a peer of France to reward him for his career of servility.

To devote one's self to all governments without distinction is not enough. Pasteur placed his glorious name at the service of the financiers, who placed him in the administrative council of the Credit Foncier, side by side with Jules Simon, with dukes and counts, with senators, deputies and ex-ministers, in order to entrap the "lambs," When De Lesseps was equipping his colossal swindle of the Panama canal, he enrolled the intellectuals of the Institute, of the French Academy, of literature, of the clergy, of all the circles of higher life.

It is not in the circle of the intellectuals, degraded by centuries of capitalist oppression, that we must seek examples of civic courage and moral dignity. They have not even the sense of professional class-consciousness, At the time of the Dreyfus affair, a certain minister discharged, as if he had been a mere prison guard, one of the professors of chemistry in the Poly technic school who had had the rare courage to give public expression to his opinion. When in a factory the employer dismisses a workman in too arbitrary a fashion, his comrades grumble, and sometimes quit work, even though misery and hunger await them in the street.

All his colleagues in the Polytechnic school bowed their heads in silence; each one crouched in self-regarding fear, and what is still more characteristic, not a single partisan of Dreyfus in the society of the Rights of Man or in the ranks of the press raised a voice to remind them of the idea of professional solidarity. The intellectuals, who on all occasions display their transcendental ethics, have still a long road to travel before they reach the moral plane of the working class and of the socialist party.

The scientists have not only sold themselves to the governments and the financiers, they have also sold science itself to, the capitalist-bourgeoisie. When in the eighteenth century there was need to prepare the minds of men for the revolution, by sapping the ideologic foundations of aristocratic society, then science fulfilled its sublime mission of freedom; it was revolutionary; it furiously attacked Christianity and the intuitional philosophy. But when the victorious bourgeoisie decided to base its new power on religion, it commanded its scientists, its philosophers and its men of letters to raise up what they had overthrown; they responded to the need with enthusiasm. They reconstructed what they had demolished: they proved by scientific, sentimental and romantic argument the existence of God the father, of Jesus the son and of Mary the virgin mother. I do not believe history offers a spectacle equal to that presented in the first years of the nineteenth century by the philosophers, the scientists and the literary men, who from revolutionaries and materialists suddenly transformed themselves into reactionaries, intuitionalists and Catholics.

This backward movement still continues; when Darwin published his Origin of Species, which took away from God his role of creator in the organic world, as Franklin had despoiled him of his thunderbolt, we saw the scientists, big and little, university professors and members of the Institute, enrolling themselves under the orders of Flourens, who for his own part had at least his eighty years for an excuse, that they might demolish the Darwinian theory, which was displeasing to the government and hurtful to religious beliefs. The intellectuals exhibited that painful spectacle in the fatherland of Lamark and of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, the creators of the evolution theory, which Darwin completed and made proof against criticism.

Today, now that the clerical anxiety is somewhat appeased, the scientists venture to profess the evolution theory, which they never opposed without a protest from their scientific conscience, but they turn it against socialism so as to keep in the good graces of the capitalists. Herbert Spencer, Haeckel and the greatest men in the school of Darwinism demonstrate that the classification of individuals into rich and poor, idlers and laborers, capitalists anti wage-earners, is the necessary result of the inevitable laws of nature, instead of being the fulfillment of the will and the justice of God. Natural selection, they say, which has differentiated the organs of the human body, has forever fixed the ranks and the functions of the social body. They have, through servility, even lost the logical spirit. They are indignant against Aristotle because he, being unable to conceive of the abolition of slavery, declared that the slave was marked off by nature; but they fail to see that they are saving something equally monstrous when they affirm that natural selection assigns to each one his place in society.

Thus it is no longer God or religion which condemn the workers to wretchedness—it is science. Never was there all intellectual bankruptcy more fraudulent.

M. Brunetieres, one of those intellectuals who do not feel their degradation and who joyfully fulfill their servile task, was right when he proclaimed the failure of science. He does not suspect how colossal this bankruptcy is.

Science, the great emancipator, that has tamed the powers of nature, and might in so doing have freed man from toil to allow him to develop freely his faculties of mind and body; science, become the slave of capital, has done nothing but supply means for capitalists to increase their wealth, and to intensify their exploitation of the working class. Its most wonderful applications to industrial technique have brought to the children, the women and the men of the working class nothing but overwork and misery! The middle-class revolutionary party of 1789 cried out in horror and indignation against the lords, who through the longs summer nights compelled their serfs to beat the ponds near their castles in order to keep the frogs from croaking. What would they say if they saw what we see? Improvements in lighting date from the capitalist period. At the end of the last century Argant and Carcel invented the lamp with a double current of air, at the beginning of this Chevreul invented the stearic candle, then gas was discovered, then petroleum, then the electric light, turning night into day. What benefits have these scientific improvements in lighting brought to the workers? They have enabled employers to impose night work upon millions of proletarians, not in the midsummer nights and in the balmy air of the fields, but through nights of summer and winter in the poisonous air of the workshops and factories. The industrial applications of mechanics and chemistry have transformed the happy and stimulating work of the artisan into a torture which exhausts and kills the proletarian.

When science subdued the forces of nature to the service of man, ought she not to have given leisure to the workers that they might develop themselves physically and intellectually; ought she not to have changed the "vale of tears" into a dwelling place of peace and joy? I ask you, has not science failed in her mission of emancipation?

The obtuse capitalist himself is conscious of this failure; so he directs his economists and his other intellectual domestics to prove to the working class that it has never been so happy and that its lot goes on improving.

The economists, considering that to deserve the good graces of the capitalists it was not enough to falsify economic facts, are suppressing economic science, which is becoming dangerous for the domination of capital. Ever since Adam Smith and Ricardo they go on repeating the same errors regarding value, regarding the productivity of the predatory and idle capitalist, compiling facts and arranging statistics which guide the capitalists in their speculations: but they dare not draw conclusions and build systems with the materials that they have accumulated. When Ricardo wrote, the phenomena of modern production were beginnings their evolution, their communist tendencies could not be perceived, one could then study them without taking sides and could build up a science without fear of wounding the interests of capital. But now that they have arrived at their full development and show clearly their communal tendencies, the economists shut their eyes that they may not see, and they wage war against the principles established by Ricardo. Which after having served as a basis for the old bourgeois economy, have become the points of departure of the Marxian economy. To take a whack at the socialist theories and put themselves at the service of the financiers, like barkers and fakirs of their bogus goods, are the intellectual functions of the economists. Latterly the owners of silver mines have enlisted them to sing the praises of bimetallism, while Cecil Rhodes, Barnato, Beit, Robbers & Company called them in to boom the Transvaal gold mines.

The intellectuals of art and literature, like the jesters of the old feudal courts, are the entertainers of the class which pays them. To satisfy the tastes of the capitalists and beguile their leisure—this is their sole artistic aim. The men of letters are so well broken to this servile duty that they do not understand the spirit of Moliere, their great ancestor, all the while that they adore the letter of his works. Moliere is the writer most written about in France; learned men have devoted themselves to gathering up the scattered fragments of his erratic and careless youth, to fixing the date and the hour of the representations of his comedies; if they had unearthed an authentic piece of excrement from him they would have set it in gold and would kiss it devotedly, but the spirit of Moliere escapes them. You have read, as I have, many critical analyses of his dramas. Did you ever find one of them which brought out in clear light the role of this militant playright, who more than a century before Beaumarchais and before revolution, at Versailles, in the very court of the great monarch, thrust at the nobility of the court and of the provinces, attacked the church before which Descartes and the rest trembled, hurled his jests at Aristotle, the unquestioned authority of La Sorbonne, that secular church; who ridiculed the Pyrrhonism which the neo-Kantians of our own days oppose to the materialist philosophy of Marxian socialism, but which then was the weapon of the Catholics, of Pascal, of Huet, the bishop of Avranches, to strike and to overthrow human reason, with its impudent desire or reaching knowledge by its own strength. Pitiful, wretched reason, clamored these Kantians before Kant, you can know nothing without the aid of faith! Moliere is unique in European literature, you must go back to the epoch of glorious Athens to find his counterpart in Aristophanes.

If the bourgeois critics timidly and unintelligently mention this side of Moliere, there is an other of which their ignorance is complete. Moliere was the man of his class, the champion of the bourgeois class. Like the socialists who say to the workers, "Break with the liberal bourgeoisie, which deceives you when it does not slaughter you:" he cried to the Georges Dandins and to the "bourgeois noblemen." "Avoid the nobles like pests; they deceive you, mock you and rob you."

The great capitalist bourgeoisie does not choose to work, either with its hands or its brain; it chooses merely to drink, to eat, to practice lewdness and to look dignified in its beastly and cumbersome luxury; it does not even deign to occupy itself with politics; men like Rothschild, De Lesseps, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, do not run for office; they find it more economical to buy the deputies than the voters, and more convenient to put their clerks into the ministries than to take part in parliamentary struggles. The big capitalists interest themselves only in the operations of the stock exchange, which afford the delights of gambling; they dignify these by the pompous name of "speculations,"—a word formerly reserved for the highest processes of philosophical or mathematical thought. The capitalists are getting themselves replaced in the supervision and management of the great industrial and commercial enterprises by intellectuals, who carry them on, and usually are well paid for doing so. These intellectuals of industry and politics, the privileged portion of the wage class, imagine that they are an integral part of the capitalist class, while they are only its servants; on every occasion they take up its defense against the working class, which finds in them its worst enemies.

Intellectuals of this description can never be led into socialism; their interests are too closely bound by with those of the capitalist class for them to detach themselves and turn against it. But below these favored few there is a swarming and famishing throng of intellectuals whose lot grows worse in proportion to the increase of their numbers. These intellectuals belong to socialism. They ought to be already in our ranks.

Their education ought to have given them the necessary intelligence to deal with social problems, but it is this very education which obstructs their hearing and keeps them away from socialism. They think their education confers on them a social privilege, that it will permit them to get through the world by themselves, each making his own way in life by crowding out his neighbor or standing on the shoulders of everyone else. They imagine that their poverty is transitory and that they only need a stroke of good luck to transform them into capitalists. Education, they think, is the lucky number in the social lottery, and it will bring them the grand prize. They do not perceive that this ticket given them by the capitalist class is a fraud, that labor, whether manual or intellectual, has no other chance than to earn its daily pittance, that it has nothing to hope for but to be exploited, and that the more capitalism goes on developing, the more do the chances of an individual raising himself out of his class go on diminishing.

And while they build castles in Spain, capital crushes them, as it has crushed the small merchants and the small manufacturers, who thought they, too, with free credit and a little luck, might become first-class capitalists, whose names should be written in the Great Book of the Public Debt.

The intellectuals, in all that has to do with the understanding of the social movement, do not rise above the intellectual level of those little bourgeois who scoffed so fiercely at the bunglers of 1830 and who, after being ruined and merged in the proletariat, none the less continue to detest socialism; to such a degree were their heads perverted by the religion of property. The intellectuals, whose brains are stuffed with all the prejudices of the bourgeois class, are inferior to those little bourgeois of 1830 and 1848 who at least were not afraid of gunpowder; they have not their spirit of combativeness, they are true imbeciles,—if we restore to this word its original Latin meaning of unsuited for war. Without resistance they endure rebuffs and wrongs and they do not think of uniting, of organizing themselves to defend their interests and give battle to capital on the economic field.

The intellectual proletariat as we know it is a recent growth, it has especially developed in the last forty years. When after the amnesty of the condemned of the Commune, we began again the socialist propaganda, believing that it would be easy to draw the intellectuals into the movement we took up our dwelling in their cultured Latin quarter, Guesde taking up his residence in the Rue de la Pitie, Vaillant in the Rue Monge and I in the Boulevard de Port Royal. We became acquainted with hundreds of young men, students of law, of medicines, of the sciences, but you can count on your fingers those whom we brought into the socialist camp. Our ideas attracted them one day, but the next day the wind blew from another quarter and turned their heads.

An honorable merchant of Bordeaux, a prominent member of the municipal council, said in the time of the empire to my father, who was disturbed over my socialism:

"Friend Lafargue, you must let youth take its course; I was a socialist when I studied at Paris, I was connected with the secret societies and I took part in the movement for demanding of Louis Philippe the pardon of Barbes." The young men of our age turn quickly, let them get back to their homes and they develop prominent abdomens and become reactionaries.

We welcomed joyfully the entrance of Jaures into socialism; we thought that the new form which he brought to our propaganda would make it penetrate into circles that we had not been able to touch. He has in fact made a decided impression on the university circle, and we owe it in part to him that the nurslings of the Ecole Normale have ideas regarding the social movement which are a little less absurd and formless than those with which their learning and intelligence have hitherto been contented. Lately, joining forces with the radical politicians who had lost their working-class following, they have invaded the socialist party. Their souls overflow with the purest intentions: if their peaceful habits prevent them from throwing themselves into the conflict, and if their lofty culture forbids them to take their place in the ranks of the comrades, they nevertheless condescend to instruct us in ethics, to polish off our ignorance, to teach us how to think, to offer us such crumbs of science as we may be able to digest, and to direct us. they modestly offer themselves to us as leaders and schoolmasters.

These intellectuals who have spent their youth in the university that they might become experts on exercises, polishers of phrases, philosophers or doctors, imagine one can improvise himself into a master of the socialist theory by attending a single lecture or by the careless reading of a single pamphlet. Naturalists who had felt the need of painful research to learn the habits of mollusks or of the polyps who live in a community on the coral banks, think that they know enough to regulate human societies, and that by keeping their stand on the first steps of the ascending ladder of animal life they can the better discern the human ideal. The philosophers, the moralists, the historians and the politicians have aims equally lofty; they bring an abundant supply of ideas and a new method of action to replace the imperfect theory and tactics which in all capitalist countries have served to build up socialist parties strong in numbers, unity and discipline.

The class struggle is out of fashion, declare these professors of socialism. Can a line of demarcation be drawn between classes? Do not the working people have savings bank accounts of $20, $30 and $100?, bringing them 50 cents, $1.50 and $3.00 of interest yearly? Is it not true that the directors and managers of mines, railroads and financial houses are wage-workers, having their functions and duties in the enterprises which they manage for the account of capitalists? The argument is unanswerable, but by the same token there is no vegetable kingdom nor animal kingdom because we can not separate them "with an ax," as it were, for the reason that at their points of contact, vegetables and animals merge into each other. There is no longer any day or any night because the sun does not appear on the horizon at the same moment all over the earth, and because it is day at the andpodes while it is night here.

The concentration of capital? A worn-out tune of 1850. The corporations by their stocks and bonds parcel out property, and distribute it among all the citizens. How blinded we were by our sectarianism when we thought that this new form of property, essentially capitalistic, was enabling the financiers to plunge their thieving hands into the smallest purses, to extract the last pieces of silver.

The poverty of the working class! But it is diminishing and soon will disappear through the constant increase of wages, while interest on money is constantly diminishing; some fine day it will descend to zero and the bourgeois will be overjoyed to offer their beloved capital on the altar of socialism. That to-morrow or the day after the capitalist will be forced to work, is the prediction of Mr. Waldeck-Rousseau. And there are intellectuals whose condition grows worse in proportion as capitalism develops, who are stultified by the utterances of the employers to a point where they affirm that the position of wage-workers is improving, and there are intellectuals who assume to possess some knowledge of political economy, who affirm that interest on money is rapidly diminishing. Could these reformers of socialism perchance be ignorant that Adam Smith calculated at the end of the eighteenth century that 3 per cent was the normal interest of capital running no risk, and that the financiers of our own epoch consider that it is still around 3 per cent that the interest rate must fluctuate. If a few years ago this rate seemed to fall below 21/2 per cent, it has risen today above 3 per cent. Capital is merchandise, like intellectual capacities and carrots; as such it is subject to the fluctuations of supply and demand. It was then more offered than demanded, whereas since the development of the industrial plant of Russia, since the opening of China to European exploitation etc., the over-supply of capital has been absorbed and its price rises with its scarcity. But the intellectuals have too many trifles to think of and too many harmonious phrases to construct for giving any thought to economic phenomena. They take for sterling truths all the lies of the capitalists, and repeat with pious conviction the old litanies of the orthodox economic church: "There are no classes, wealth is coming to be distributed more and more equitably, the workers are growing richer and those living on incomes are growing poorer, and the capitalist society is the best of all possible societies; these truths shine forth like suns and none but partisans and mystics can deny them."

These intellectuals propose to modify the tactics as well as the theories of the socialist party; they wish to impose upon it a new method of action. It must no longer strive to conquer the public powers by a great struggle, legal or revolutionary as need may be, but let itself be conquered by every minister of a republican coalition; it is no longer to oppose the socialist party to all the bourgeois parties: what is needed is to put it at the service of the liberal party; we must no longer organize it for the class struggle, but keep it ready for all the compromises of politicians. And to further the triumph of the new method of action, they propose to disorganize the socialist party, to break up its old systems and to demolish the organizations which for twenty years have labored to give the workers a sense of their class interests and to group them in a party of economic and political struggle.

But the intellectuals will lose their labors; thus far they have only succeeded in drawing closer the ties uniting the socialists of the different organizations, and in making themselves ridiculous.

The intellectuals ought to have been the first of all the various groups to revolt against capitalist society, in which they occupy a subordinate position so little in keeping with their hopes and their talents, but they do not even understand it; they must have such a confused idea of it that August Comte, Renan, and others more or less distinguished have cherished the dream of reviving for their benefit an aristocracy copied after the model of the Chinese mandarin system. Such an idea is a reflection of past ages in their heads, for nothing is in more absolute opposition with the modern social movement than such pretensions. The intellectuals in previous states of society formed a world outside and above that of production, having charge only of education, of the direction of religious worship, and of the political administration.

The mechanic industry of these societies combine in the same producer, manual labor and intellectual labor; it was for example the same cabinetmaker who designed and executed the piece of furniture, who bought its first material and who even undertook its sale. Capitalist production has divorced two functions which once were indissolubly united; on the one side it puts the manual workers, who become more and more servants of the machine, and on the other the intellectual workers, engineers, chemists, managers, etc: But these two categories of workers, however different and contrary they may be in their education and habits, are welded together, to the point that a capitalist industry can not be carried on without manual laborers and more than without intellectual wage-workers.

United in production, united under the yoke of capitalist exploitation, united they should be also in revolt against the common enemy. The intellectuals, if they understood their own real interests would come in crowds to socialism, not through philanthropy, not through pity for the miseries of the workers, not through affectation and snobbery but to save themselves, to assure the future welfare of their wives and children, to fulfill their duty to their class. They ought to be ashamed of being left behind in the social battle by their comrades in the manual category. They have many things to teach them, but they have still much to learn from them: the workingmen have a practical sense superior to theirs, and have given proof of an instinctive intuition of the communist tendencies of modern capitalism which is lacking to the intellectuals, who have only been able by a conscious mental effort to arrive at this conception. If only they had understood their own interests, the!- would long since have turned against the capitalist class the education which it has generously distributed in order better to exploit them; they would have utilized their intellectual capacities, which are enriching their masters, as so many improved weapons to fight capitalism and to conquer the freedom of their class, the wage-working class.

Capitalist production, which has overthrown the old conditions of life and of work, has elaborated new forms, which already can be discerned without supernatural vision, but which to the intellectuals remain sealed under seven seals. One of the leading lights of intellectualism, M. Durkheim, in his book, "The Division of Labor," which made some noise in university circles, can not conceive of society except on the social pattern of ancient Egypt, each laborer remaining, his life through, penned up in one single trade. However, unless one is so unfortunate as to be affected by the hopeless near-sightedness of the Ecole Sormale, one can not help seeing that the machine is suppressing trades, one after the other, in a way to let only one survive, that of the machinist, and that when it has finished its revolutionary work which the socialists will complete by revolutionizing capitalist society, the producer of the communist society will plow and sow with the machine today, will spin, will turn wood or polish steel to-morrow, and will exercise in turn all the trades to the greater profit of his health and his intelligence.

The industrial applications of mechanics, chemistry and physics, which, monopolized by capital, oppress the worker, will, when they shall be common property, emancipate man from toil and give him leisure and liberty.

Mechanical production, which under capitalist direction call only buffet the worker back and forth from periods of over-work to periods of enforced idleness, will when developed and regulated by a communist administration, require from the producer, to provide for the normal needs of society, only a maximum day of two or three hours in the workshop, and when this time of necessary social labor is fulfilled he will be able to enjoy freely the physical and intellectual pleasures of life.

The artist then will paint, will sing, will dance, the writer will write, the musician will compose operas, the philosopher will build systems, the chemist will analyze substances not to gain money, to receive a salary, not to deserve applause, to win laurel wreaths, like the conquerors at the Olympic games, but to satisfy their artistic and scientific passion; for one does not drink a glass of champagne or kiss the woman he loves for the benefit of the gallery. The artist and the scientist may then repeat the enthusiastic words of Kepler, that hero of science: "The elector of Saxony with all his wealth can not equal the pleasure I have felt in composing the Mysterium Cosmographicum."

Will not the intellectuals end by hearing the voice of the socialist calling them to the rescue, to emancipate science and art from the capitalist yoke, to liberate thought from the slavery of commercialism?


Paul Lafargue's

Source: The Right To Be Lazy and Other Studies

Translated: Charles Kerr

First Published: Charles Kerr and Co., Co-operative, 1883

Online Version: Lafargue Internet Archive ( 2000

Transcription/Markup: Sally Ryan

The nineteenth century was the century of capitalism. Capitalism filled that century to overflowing with its commerce, its industry, its manners, its fashions, its literature, its art, its science, its philosophy, its religion, its politics and its civil code, more universal than the laws imposed by Rome upon the nations of the ancient world. The capitalist movement, starting from England, the United States and France, has shaken the foundations of Europe and of the world. It has forced the old feudal monarchies of Austria and Germany and the barbaric despotism of Russia to put themselves in line; and in these last days it has gone into the extreme East, into Japan, where it has overthrown the feudal system and implanted the industry and the politics of capitalism.

Capitalism has taken possession of our planet; its fleets bring together the continents which oceans had separated; its railroads, spanning mountains and deserts, furrow the earth; the electric wires, the nervous system of the globe, bind all nations together, and their palpitations reverberate in the great centers of population. Now for the first time there is a contemporary history of the world. Events in Australia, the Transvaal, China, are known in London, Paris, New York, at the moment they are brought about, precisely as if they happened in the outskirts of the city where the news is published.

Civilized nations live off the products of the whole earth. Egypt, India, Louisiana, furnish the cotton, Australia the wool. Japan the silk, China the tea, Brazil the coffee, New Zealand and the United States the meat and grain. The capitalist carries in his stomach and on his back the spoils of the universe.

The study of natural phenomena has undergone an unprecedented, an unheard-of, development. New sciences, geology, chemistry, physics, etc., have arisen. The industrial application of the forces of nature and of the discoveries of science has taken on a still more startling development; some of the geometrical discoveries of the scientists of Alexandria, two thousand years old, have for the first time been utilized.

The production of machine industry can provide for all demand and more. The mechanical application of the forces of nature has increased man's productive forces tenfold, a hundredfold. A few hours' daily labor, furnished by the able-bodied members of the nation, would produce enough to satisfy the material and intellectual needs of all.

But what has come of the colossal and wonderful development of science, industry and commerce in the nineteenth century? Has it made humanity stronger, healthier, happier? Has it given leisure to the producers? Has it brought comfort and contentment to the people?

Never has work been so prolonged, so exhausting, so injurious to man's body and so fatal to his intelligence. Never has the industrial labor which undermines health, shortens life and starves the intellect been so general, been imposed on such ever-growing masses of laborers. The men, women and children of the proletariat are bent under the iron yoke of machine industry. Poverty is their reward when they work, starvation when they lose their jobs.

In former stages of society, famine appeared only when the earth refused her harvests. In capitalist society, famine sits at the hearth of the working class when granaries and cellars burst with the fruits of the earth, and when the market is gorged with the products of industry.

All the toil, all the production, all the suffering of the working class has but served to heighten its physical and mental destitution, to drag it down from poverty into wretchedness.

Capitalism, controlling the means of production and directing the social and political life of a century of science and industry, has become bankrupt. The capitalists have not even proved competent, like the owners of chattel slaves, to guarantee to their toilers the work to provide their miserable livelihood; capitalism massacred them when they dared demand the right to work -- a slave's right.

The capitalist class has also made a failure of itself. It has seized upon the social wealth to enjoy it, and never was the ruling class more incapable of enjoyment. The newly rich, those who have built up their fortunes by accumulating the filchings from labor, live like strangers in the midst of luxury and artistic treasures, with which they surround themselves through a foolish vanity, to pay homage to their millions.

The leading capitalists, the millionaires and billionaires, are sad specimens of the human race, useless and hurtful. The mark of degeneracy is upon them. Their sickly offspring are old at birth. Their organs are sapped with diseases. Exquisite meats and wines load down their tables, but the stomach refuses to digest them; women expert in love perfume their couches with youth and beauty, but their senses are benumbed. They own palatial dwellings in enchanting sites, and they have no eyes, no feeling for joyful nature, with its eternal youth and change. Sated and disgusted with everything, they are followed everywhere by ennui as by their shadows. They yawn at rising and when they go to bed. They yawn at their fests and at their orgies. The began yawning in their mother's womb.

The pessimism which, in the wake of capitalist property, made its appearance in ancient Greece six centuries before Jesus Christ, and which has since formed the foundation of the moral and religious philosophy of the capitalist class, became the leading characteristic of the philosophy of the second half of the nineteenth century. The pessimism of Theognis sprang from the uncertainties and vicissitudes of life in the Greek cities, torn by the perpetual wars between rich and poor; the pessimism of the capitalist is the bitter fruit of satiety, ennui and the impoverishment of the blood.

The capitalist class is falling into its second childhood; its decreptitude appears in its literature, now returning to its starting point. Romantic literature, the literary form proper to the capitalist class, which started out with the romantic Christianity of Chateaubriand, is returning to the same point, after passing through the historical novel and the character novel. Capitalism, which in its virile and combative youth in the eighteenth century had wished to emancipate itself from Christianity, resigns itself in its old age to practices of the grossest superstition.

The capitalist class, bankrupt, old, useless and hurtful, has finished its historic mission; it persists as ruling class only through its acquired momentum. The proletariat of the twentieth century will execute the decree of history; will drive it from its position of social control. Then the stupendous work in science and industry accomplished by civilized humanity, at the price of such toil and suffering, will engender peace and happiness; then will this vale of tears be transformed into an earthly paradise.


Paul Lafargue's

Source: The Right To Be Lazy and Other Studies

Translated: Charles Kerr

First Published: Charles Kerr and Co., Co-operative, 1883

Online Version: Lafargue Internet Archive ( 2000

Transcription/Markup: Sally Ryan

Capitalist Civilization has endowed the wage-worker with the metaphysical Rights of Man, but this is only to rivet him more closely and more firmly to his economic duty.

"I make you free," so speak the Rights of Man to the laborer, "free to earn a wretched living and turn your employer into a millionaire; free to sell him your liberty for a mouthful of bread. He will imprison you ten hours or twelve hours in his workshops; he will not let you go till you are wearied to the marrow of your bones, till you have just enough strength left to gulp down pour soup and sink into a heavy sleep. You have but one of your rights that you may not sell, and that is the right to pay taxes.

Progress and Civilization may be hard on wage-working humanity but they have all a mother's tenderness for the animals which stupid bipeds call "lower."

Civilization has especially favored the equine race: it would be too great a task to go through the longs list of its benefactions; I will name but a few, of general notoriety, that I may awaken and inflame the passionate desires of the workers, now torpid in their misery.

Horses are divided into distinct classes. The equine aristocracy enjoys so many and so oppressive privileges, that if the human-faced brutes which serve them as jockeys, trainers, stable valets and grooms were not morally degraded to the point of not feeling their shame, they would have rebelled against their lords and masters, whom they rub down, groom, brush and comb, also making their beds, cleaning up their excrements and receiving bites and kicks by way of thanks.

Aristocratic horses, like capitalists, do not work; and when they exercise themselves in the fields they look disdainfully, with a contempt, upon the human animals which plow and seed the lands, mow and rake the meadows, to provide them with oats, clover, timothy and other succulent plants.

These four-footed favorites of Civilization command such social influence that they impose their wills upon the capitalists, their brothers in privilege; they force the loftiest of them to come with their beautiful ladies and take tea in the stables, inhaling the acrid perfumes of their solid and liquid evacuations. And when these lords consent to parade in public, they require from ten to twenty thousand men and women to stack themselves up on uncomfortable seats, under the broiling sun, to admire their exquisitely chiseled forms and their feats of running and leaping They respect none of the social dignities before which the votaries of the Rights of Man bow in reverence. At Chantilly not long ago one of the favorites for the grand prize launched a kick at the king of Belgium, because it did not like the looks of his head. His royal majesty, who adores horses, murmured an apology and withdrew.

It is fortunate that these horses, who can count more authentic ancestors than the houses of Orleans and Hohenzollern, have not been corrupted by their high social station; had they taken it into their heads to rival the capitalists in aesthetic pretentions, profligate luxury and depraved tastes, such as wearing- lace and diamonds, and drinking champagne and Chateau-Margaux, a blacker misery and more overwhelming drudgery would he impending over the class of wage-workers.

Thrice happy is it for proletarian humanity that these equine aristocrats have not taken the fancy of feeding upon human flesh, like the old Bengal tigers which rove around the villages of India to carry off women and children; if unhappily the horses had been man-eaters, the capitalists, who can refuse them nothing, would have built slaughter-houses for wage-workers, where they could carve out and dress boy sirloins, woman hams and girl roasts to satisfy their anthropophagic tastes.

The proletarian horses, not so well endowed, have to work for their peck of oats, but the capitalist class, through deference for the aristocrats of the equine race, concedes to the working horses rights that are far more solid and real than those inscribed in the "Rights of Man." The first of rights, the right to existence, which no civilized society will recognize for laborers, is possessed by horses.

The colt, even before his birth, while still in the fetus state, begins to enjoy the right to existence; his mother, when her pregnancy has scarcely begun, is discharged from all work and sent into the country to fashion the new being in peace and comfort; she remains near him to suckle him and teach him to choose the delicious grasses of the meadow, in which he gambols until he is grown.

The moralists and politicians of the "Rights of Man" think it would be monstrous to grant such rights to the laborers; I raised a tempest in the Chamber of Deputies when I asked that women, two months before and two months after confinement, should have the right and the means to absent themselves from the factory. My proposition upset the ethics of civilization and shook the capitalist order. What an abominable abomination -- to demand for babies the rights of colts.

As for the young proletarians, they can scarcely trot on their little toes before they are condemned to hard labor in the prisons of capitalism, while the colts develop freely under kindly Nature; care is taken that they be completely formed before they are set to work. and their tasks are proportioned to their strength with a tender care.

This care on the part of the capitalists follows them all through their lives. We may still recall the noble indignation of the bourgeois press when it learned that the omnibus company was using peat and tannery waste in its stalls as a substitute for straw: to think of the unhappy horses having such poor litters! The more delicate souls of the bourgeoisie have in every capitalist country organized societies for the protection of animals, in order to prove that they can not be excited by the fate of the small victims of industry. Schopenhauer, the bourgeois philosopher, in whom was incarnated so perfectly the gross egoism of the philistine, could not hear the cracking of a whip without his heart being torn by it.

This same omnibus company, which works its laborers from fourteen to sixteen hours a day, requires from its dear horses only five to seven hours. It has bought green meadows in which they may recuperate from fatigue or indisposition. Its policy is to expend more for the entertainment of a quadrupled than for paying the wages of a biped. It has never occurred to any legislator nor to any fanatical advocate of the "Rights of Man" to reduce the horse's daily pittance in order to assure him a retreat that would be of service to him only after his death.

The Rights of Horses have not been posted up; they are "unwritten rights," as Socrates called the laws implanted by Nature in the consciousness of all men.

The horse has shown his wisdom in contenting himself with these rights, with no thought of demanding those of the citizen; he has judged that he would have been as stupid as man if he had sacrificed his mess of lentils for the metaphysical banquet of Rights to Revolt, to Equality, to Liberty, and other trivialities which to the proletariat are about as useful as a cautery on a wooden leg.

Civilization, though partial to the equine race, has not shown herself indifferent to the fate of the other animals. Sheep, like canons, pass their days in pleasant and plentiful idleness; they are fed in the stable on barley, lucerne, rutabagas and other roots, raised by wage-workers; shepherds conduct them to feed in fat pastures, and when the sun parches the plain, they are carried to where they can browse on the tender grass of the mountains.

The Church, which has burned her heretics, and regrets that she can not again bring up her faithful sons in the love of "mutton," represents Jesus, under the form of a kind shepherd, bearing upon his shoulders a weary lamb.

True, the love for the ram and the ewe is in the last analysis only the love for the leg of mutton and the cutlet, just as the Liberty of the Rights of Man is nothing but the slavery of the wage-worker, since our jesuitical Civilization always disguises capitalist exploitation in eternal principles and bourgeois egoism in noble sentiments; yet at least the bourgeois tends and fattens the sheep up to the day of the sacrifice, while he seizes the laborer still warm from the workshop and lean from toil to send him to the shambels of Tonquin or Madagascar.

Laborers of all crafts, you who toil so hard to create your poverty in producing the wealth of the capitalists, arise, arise! Since the buffoons of parliament unfurl the Rights of Man, do you boldly demand for yourselves, your wives and your children the Rights of the Horse.


Paul Lafargue's

Source: The Right To Be Lazy and Other Studies

Translated: Charles Kerr

First Published: Charles Kerr and Co., Co-operative, 1883

Online Version: Lafargue Internet Archive ( 2000

Transcription/Markup: Sally Ryan

The bourgeois has thought and still thinks that woman ought to remain at home and devote her activity to supervising and directing the housekeeping, caring for her husband, and manufacturing and nourishing children. Even Xenophon, at the time when the bourgeoisie was newly born and was taking its shape in ancient society, traced the main outlines of this ideal of woman. But if through the course of centuries, this ideal may have appeared reasonable, because it corresponded to economic conditions which prevailed, it is no longer anything more than an ideological survival, since these conditions have ceased to exist.

The domestication of woman presupposes that she fulfills in the household certain numerous functions which absorb all her energy; now, the most important and the most exacting of these domestic labors,—the spinning of wool and linen, the cutting and making up of clothing, laundry work, baking, etc.,—are carried on by capitalistic industry. It furthermore presupposes that man by his contribution to the family capital and his earnings provides for the material needs of the family now; among the comfortable bourgeoisie, marriage is as much an association of capitals [1] as a union of persons and often the capital contributed by the wife exceeds that of the husband, and in the small bourgeoisie the gains of the father of the family have fallen so low that the children,—girls as well as boys,—are compelled to earn their living in business, railroad offices, banks, teaching, civil service positions, etc., while it often happens that the young wife continues to work outside in order to help out the resources of the housekeeping, when the earnings of the husband do not suffice to cover the expenses.

The daughters and wives of the small bourgeoisie, as well as those of the working class, thus enter into competition with their father, brothers and husband. This economic antagonism, which the bourgeoisie had prevented from developing by confining the wife to the family dwelling, is becoming general and is intensified in proportion as capitalistic production develops; it invades the fields of the liberal profession -- medicine, law, literature, journalism,, the sciences, etc.,—where man had reserved for himself a monopoly, which he imagined was to be eternal. The laborers, as is always the case, have been the first to draw the logical consequences of the participation of woman in social production; they have replaced the ideal of the artisan,—the wife who is nothing but a housekeeper, --by a new ideal,—woman as a companion in their economic and political struggles for the raising of wages and the emancipation of labor.

The bourgeois has not yet succeeded in understanding that his ideal is already long since out of date and that it must be remodeled to correspond to the new conditions of the social environment; nevertheless since the first half of the nineteenth century the ladies of the bourgeoisie have begun to protest against their inferior position in the family, so much the more intolerable in that their dowry placed them on a footing of equality with the husband; they rebelled against the domestic slavery and the parsimonious life to which they were condemned, as well as the deprivation of intellectual and material enjoyments which was imposed upon them; the bolder ones went so far as to demand free love and to ally themselves with the utopian sects which preached the emancipation of woman. [2] The philosophers and the moralists had the simplicity to believe that they would stop the woman movement by opposing to it the sacred interest of the family, which they declared could not survive without the subjection of woman to the labors of the household, the sewing on of shirt buttons, the mending of hose, etc., her duty was to devote herself to these obscure and thankless labors, in order that man might freely unfold and display his brilliant and superior faculties. These same philosophers, who lectured the rebellious ladies on the cult of the family, sang the praises of capitalist industry, which, by forcing the wife away from the domestic hearth and her child's cradle to condemn her to the forced labor of the factory, destroys the working-class family.

The bourgeois ladies laughed at the sermons, equally imbecile and ethical, of these solemn philosophers; they kept on their way and attained the end they set for themselves; like the patrician lady of ancient Rome and the countess of the eighteenth century, they threw off the cares of housekeeping and of the nursing of the child upon mercenaries, that they might devote themselves wholly to the toilet, that they might be the most luxuriously arrayed dolls in the capitalist world and in order to make business move. The daughters and wives of American plutocracy have attained the extreme limits of this sort of emancipation; they are transforming their fathers and husbands into accumulators of millions, which they squander madly. Since the toilet does not exhaust the entire activity of the ladies of capitalism, they find amusement in breaking the marriage contract in order to assert their independence and improve the race. The Communist Manifesto remarks that the innumerable divorce suits in which adultery is alleged are indisputable proofs of the respect inspired in the bourgeois of both sexes by the sacred bonds of marriage which the "licentious socialists" talk of loosening.

When the daughters and wives of the small bourgeoisie, obliged to earn their living and to increase the resources of the family, began to invade the stores, the offices, the civil service and the liberal professions, the bourgeois were seized with anxiety for their means of existence already so reduced; feminine competition would reduce them still further. The intellectuals who took up the defense of the males, thought it prudent not to start afresh with the ethical sermons which had miscarried so piteously in the case of the wealthy bourgeois ladies;—they appealed to science; they demonstrated by reasons which were irrefutable and loftily scientific that woman cannot emerge from the occupations of housekeeping without violating the laws of nature and history. They proved to their complete satisfaction that woman is an inferior being, incapable of receiving a higher intellectual education and of furnishing the combination of attention, energy and agility demanded by the professions in which she was entering into competition with man. Her brain, less voluminous, less heavy and less complex than that of man, is a "child's brain." Her less developed muscles have not the strength for attack and for resistance; the bones of her forearm, her pelvis, her femur, and in fact all her osseous, muscular and nervous system do not permit her to undertake more than the routine of the household. Nature designed her in all her organization to be the servant of man, just as the odious god of the Jews and Christians marked out the race of Ham for slavery.

History contributed its startling confirmation of these ultra scientific truths; the philosophers and the historians affirmed that always and everywhere the wife, subordinate to the man, had been shut up in the house, in the woman's apartments; if such had been her lot in the past, such was to be her destiny in the future, was the positive declaration of Auguste Comte, the profoundest of bourgeois philosophers. Lombroso, the illustrious comedian, went him one better: he seriously declared that social statistics proclaimed the inferiority of woman, since the number of female criminals is below that of male criminals; while buried in these figures, he might have added that the statistics of insanity demonstrate the same inferiority. Thus we see that ethics, anatomy, physiology, social statistics and history riveted forever upon woman the chains of domestic servitude.


Bachofen, Morgan and a crowd of anthropologists have revised the opinion of the historians and philosophers upon the role played by woman in the past. They have shown that everywhere the paternal family, which subordinated woman to man, had been preceded by the maternal family, which gave the first place to woman. The Greek language contains the record of her two conditions: while the Spartans, among whom matriarchal customs persisted, still continued to call her despoinia, the mistress of the house, the sovereign, the other Greeks grave to the wife the name darmar, the subdued, the vanquished. The Odyssey, in characterizing Nausicaa, says that she is parthenos admes, the girl not subdued, that is to say, without a husband, without a master. The modern expression "yoke of marriage" preserves the ancient idea.

Hesiod, in opposition to Homer, who tells only of patriarchal customs, preserves precious recollections of the matriarchal family; he tells us that when it existed man, even if he were a hundred years old, lived with his prudent mother,—he was fed in her house like a great child. (Works and Days. V. 129-130.) It was not the woman who then had the "child's brain," but the man; everything seems in fact to prove that her intelligence was the first to develop. This intellectual superiority caused her to be deified before man in the primitive religions of Egypt, the Indies, Asia and Greece, and caused the first inventions of the arts and trades, with the exception of metal working, to be attributed to goddesses and not to gods. The Muses, originally three in number, were in Greece, even in preference to Apollo, the goddesses of poetry, music and the dance. Isis, "mother of corn ears and lady of bread," and Demeter, lawgiver, had taught the Egyptians and Greeks the tillage of barley and wheat and made them renounce their anthropophagic repasts. The woman appeared to the prepatriarchal man, like the Germans whom Tacitus knew, as having within herself something holy and providential, aliquid sanctum et providum (Germania VIII). Her prudence and foresight gave her this divine character. Must we conclude that this intellectual superiority, which manifested itself when the economic environment is rudimentary, is a natural phenomenon?

But, in any case, it may be asserted that the vitality of woman is superior to that of man. The life insurance companies of the United States, England and Holland, which do not base their calculation upon scientific fairy tales of the intellectuals but upon mortality tables, pay woman an annuity below that which they give man, because her probabilities of death are less. Here for example is the annuity paid for a capital of $1,000 by American and Dutch companies: [3]

Age New YorkMen New YorkWomen HollandMen HollandWomen

50 years $76.47 $69.57 $76.80 $73.60

60 years 97.24 88.03 98.50 93.50

70 years 134.31 122.48 142.00 136.70

80 years 183.95 168.00 222.70 211.70

It may be objected that man, leading a more active life, is more subject to accidents, diseases, and other causes of death, and that consequently the prolonged life of woman does not prove the higher vitality of her organism, but the advantages of a life less subject to accident.

The answer to this objection is found in the statistics of the various nations. There is in no country a perfect equilibrium between the number of women and that of men; for 1,000 men there are in Belgium 1,005 women, in France 1,014, in England 1,062, in Scotland 1,071 and in Norway 1,091. Nevertheless in these countries with the feminine preponderance there is an excess of masculine births: of the whole of Western Europe for every 1000 girls there are born from 1,040 to 1,060 boys. If, in spite of this excess of masculine births, more girls survive, it is because the greater mortality of the boys shows the balance in favor of the girls; and this higher mortality cannot be explained by the life of man being more subject to accident, since it is observed at an early age, notably during the first two years. All the diseases of childhood, with the exception of diphtheria and whooping cough, are to a perceptible extent more fatal among boys than among girls, from zero to five years the male sex is particularly frail; at all ages, except between ten and fifteen years, the male mortality is in excess of the female.

The superior vitality of the female sex is also noticeable in the greater ease with which it builds up its organism. M. Iribe, superintendent of the sanitarium of Hendaye, to which are sent Parisian children from three to fourteen years of age, who are afflicted with anaemia, incipient tuberculosis, scrofula and rickets, reports that at the time of their dismissal, at the end of six months, the progress in weight, girth and chest development is incomparably higher in the girls than in the boys, the increase in weight is double and often more.

The same statement has been made by other superintendents of sanitariums. (Bulletin Medical, No. 81, 1903.)

Woman undeniably possesses a greater vitality than man. M. Gustav Loisel has made inquiry "as to whether this difference existed in embryonic life, and what may be its cause?" He has communicated the results of his inquiries to the Biological Society of Paris, which published them in its Bulletin of November 6, 1903.

M. Loisel availed himself of 792 weights and measurements made upon 72 foetuses at the Maternity Hospital of Paris by C. E. Legou; [4] from the following weights of the foetuses at three, four, five and six months he obtains the following figures:

MalesGrammes FemalesGrammes DifferencesGrammes

Total weight 1908.18 1708.18 200.07 + males

Kidneys 16.78 17.19 2.67 + males

Superrenal glands 5.15 6.43 0.32 + females

Liver 88.35 96.31 1.28 + females

Spleen 2.59 2.38 7.90 + females

Thymus 3.89 3.97 0.21 + males

Heart 10.97 12.60 0.08 + females

Lungs 47.29 44.62 1.63 + females

Brain 236.94 235.17 1.17 + males

"These figures thus show us," says M. Loisel. "a preponderance already existing in favor of the females as regards the kidneys, the superrenal glands, the liver, the thymus and the heart: this predominance is the more noticeable since the total weight of the body is larger in the male than in the female."

If now we take the relation between the total weight and the height of the organs which are heaviest in the male, we find that the proportion is still in favor of the female:


Males Females

Spleen 1 to 736 1 to 718

Lungs 1 to 40 1 to 38

Brain 1 to 8 1 to 7

The organs here examined, brain included, are thus absolutely or relatively heavier in the female foetus than in the male foetus.

M. Loisel has also examined into the proportion of the weights of the different organs to the total weight according to the age of the foetus. He has prepared a table, from which I take only the figures concerning the brain:

AGE TOTAL WEIGHT Proportion of weight of brain to total weight

MalesGrammes FemalesGrammes Males Females

3 months 58.33 65.96 1/6.5 1/7

4 months 167.25 182.58 1/7.3 1/6.6

5 months 336.33 295.00 1/7.6 1/7.5

6 months 732.58 636.00 1/8.3 1/7.3

The weight of the male foetus, which is below that of the female foetus, at three months, when the sex has just been determined, grows more rapidly and the proportion between the weight is always to the advantage of the females from the fourth month on.

"To sum up," says M. Loisel, "all the organs are heavier in the female foetus than in the male foetus up to about the fourth month. The predominance then passes over to the male, but only for the lungs and the organs for sex-union, thus the cardiac muscle always remains heavier in the female. The organs which are of real service to the individual during the embryonic life always remain more developed in the female sex.

"If now we consider that the differences in favor of the females are especially in the liver, the heart, the superrenal glands and the kidneys, we shall come to the conclusion that the greater vitality of the female organisms corresponds to their being better nourished and better purified." [5]


The superior organization possessed by woman at birth, assuring her throughout her life a much greater vitality, is probably demanded by the part she plays in the production of the species, a part altogether more prolonged and exhausting than that of the man who, when fertilization is accomplished, has no more to do, while then the travail of woman begins, to continue during long months, through pregnancy and after birth. The women of savage tribes suckle their children for two years and more. It sometimes happens that the male pays dear for his inutility; after union, the bees kill the males, and the male spider must hastily take himself off that he may not be devoured by the larger and stronger female. Among the Sakawas, at the annual feast of Mylitta Anaitis, they sacrificed at Babylon the handsome slave who had just united with the priestess who incarnated the Assyrian goddess. This bloody religious ceremonial must have been a reproduction of an Amazonian custom.

The life of savagery and barbarism permits woman to develop her superiority from birth; each sex there has its special function, it is the division of labor in embryo. The man, whose muscular system is more developed, "fights, hunts, fishes and sits down,?" according to the Australian native, he regards all the rest as under the jurisdiction of woman, whose function puts brain activity into play at an earlier epoch. She has charge of the communal house, which often shelters a clan of more than one hundred individuals; she prepares clothing from skins and other raw materials; she charges herself with the cultivation of the garden, the rearing of domestic animals and the manufacture of household utensils; she preserves, economizes, cooks, distributes the provisions, vegetable and animal, which have been gathered during the course of the year; and like the Valkyries of the Scandinavians and the Keres of the pre-Homeric Greeks, she accompanies the warrior on the field battle, aids in the fray, raises him up if he is wounded and cares for him; her assistance is so appreciated that, according to Tacitust the barbarians who under the leadership of Civilis revolted against Vespasian, were seized with pity for the Roman soldiers because their wives did not accompany them when they marched to combat. Plato likewise who, like the chosen ones initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries, was more informed regarding ancient customs than is supposed, makes the women to be present in the battles of the warriors of his Republic.

These multiple and diverse functions, which obliged woman to reflect, to calculate, to think of the morrow and to look ahead at long range, must necessarily have developed her intellectual faculties; thus the craniologists say that only a slight difference exists between the cranial capacity of the two sexes in the negroes, the Australians, and the red skins, while they find that it goes on increasing among civilized people. Woman is for the careless and improvident savage, a providence; she is the prudent and prescient being who presides over his destinies from birth to death. Man, making his religions with the events and the intellectual acquisitions of his daily life, was thus obliged to begin by deifying woman. The pre-Homeric Greeks and Romans had placed their destinies under the control of goddesses, the Fates—Moirai, Parcae—whose name signifies in the Latin language "sparing," "economic," and in the Greek the part which falls to each one in the distribution of food or of booty.

If we relieve the rich and poetical Greek mythology of the symbolical, allegorical and mystical lucubrations with which the philosophers and the poets of the classical epoch and the Alexandrine period have overloaded and complicated it, and which the German mythologists, servilely copied by those of France and England, have carried on to their own more perfect confusion, it becomes an inestimable storehouse of prehistoric customs which preserves the memory of the manners which travelers and anthropologists now observe living again among the savages and barbarous nations of Africa and the New World. The mythological legend furnishes us with information of the relative value of feminine and masculine intelligence among the Greeks, before their had entered upon the patriarchal period.

Jupiter, the "father of the gods," as Homer, Hesiod and Aeschylos call him, after having driven the feminine divinities from Olympus, enthroned there the patriarchate, which for some generations had been established upon earth; the religious heaven always reflects terrestrial manners as the moon reflects the light of the sun. But Jupiter, who like ever barbarian, knew how to use his fists (Iliad XV. 228), who boasted that he was the strongest of the gods, and who to dominate the others kept next his throne two servants, Force and Violence, always ready to obey his orders, was inadequately prepared by his intellectual dualities to replace woman in the government of the Olympian family; in order to supply the capacities which were lacking to him, Hesiod tells us that he married Metis, "the wisest among mortals and gods." The savage and the barbarian, that he may take into himself the courage of a fallen enemy, devours his throbbing heart; Jupiter carried off Metis to assimilate her cunning, her prudence and her wisdom, for her name in the Greek language has these diverse meanings; these qualities were considered as belonging to woman.

But the process of assimilation took some time, if we may judge from the rascally farce played upon him by Prometheus. The latter killed and butchered an enormous ox, in one pile he placed the flesh which he covered with the skin upon which he deposited the entrails; in another pile lie put the bare bones which he adroitly concealed under heaps of fat. "You have divided the parts very badly," said the father of gods and men. "Most worthy Jupiter, greatest of living gods, take the part that your wisdom counsels you to choose," replied the astute Prometheus. The ruler of the heavens, listening only to his gluttony, laid both hands upon the heap of fat amid the laughter of the Olympians; his wrath was terrible when he saw the bare bones. (Theogony 435 et seq.) Such a farce would hardly have been played in the Olympian heaven had it not been that on the earth similar tests had been required to prove to the Father that his intellectual faculties did not justify him in taking the place of the Mother in the leadership of the family and the management of its property.

The higher position in the family and society, which man conquered by brute force, while it compelled him to a mental activity to which he was little accustomed, at the same time put at his disposal opportunities for reflection and development which constantly increased. Woman, "subdued," as the Greek expression has it, shut up in the narrow circle of the family, the leadership of which had been taken from her, and having little or no contact with the outside world, saw on the contrary a great reduction of the means of development which she had enjoyed, and to complete her subjection she was forbidden the intellectual culture which was given to man. If in spite of these fetters and these disadvantages, the disastrous effects of which cannot be exaggerated, the brain of woman continued to evolve, it was because woman's intelligence profited through the progress realized by the masculine brain; for one sex transmits to the other the qualities which it has acquired; thus pullets of certain varieties inherit the spurs which are highly developed among the cocks, while in other varieties they transmit to the males their exaggerated crests. "It is fortunate," says Darwin upon this point. "that the equal transmission of the characteristics of both sexes has been a general rule in the whole series of mammals, otherwise, it is probable that man would have become as superior to woman in intellectual power as the peacock is to the female in ornamental plumage." (Descent of Man—Sexual Selection, VIII and XIX.)

But defects as well as valuable qualities are transmitted from one sex to the other: if woman has profited by the brain-growth of man, he has in his turn been retarded in his development by the sluggishness in the development of woman's brain, produced by the reduction to the smallest minimum of intellectual activity to which he has condemned her. The breeders who seek the choicest results are as careful to have irreproachable females as males; amateur cockfighters attach as much importance to the selection of the pullets as to the cocks, the produce only from those which are armed with spurs and which have the fighting spirit. It may be said that humanity, since it emerged from communism of the clan to live under the system of private property, has been developed by the efforts of one sex alone and that its evolution has been retarded through the obstacles interposed by the other sex. Man by systematically depriving woman of the means of development, material and intellectual, has made of her a force retarding human progress.

In fact if we study and compare the different periods of savagery and barbarism, we cannot but observe the continuous and remarkable progress in human mind, because women and men, exercising freely their physical and mental faculties, contribute equally to the evolution of the species; this has been retarded ever since humanity entered into the period of civilization and private property, because then woman, constrained and confined in her development, cannot contribute to it in so effective a way. The senile stagnation in which China has vegetated for more than a thousand years can only be attributed to the degradation of woman, which has gone to the point of the cruel mutilation of her feet that she may be imprisoned the more closely in the woman's quarters. Europe also suffers from the degradation of woman, since in spite of the extraordinary material progress of these last two thousand years and the increasing and no less extraordinary accumulation of human knowledge, it cannot be maintained that the brain of the civilized modern exceeds in power and capacity that of the Greeks of the classic epoch, which extends from the seventh to the fourth century before the Christian era. It is certain that a Victor Hugo, a Zola, or any university graduate or doctor has stored in his brain an abundance of positive and diversified conceptions not possessed by Aeschylus, Anaxagoras, Protagoras and Aristotle, but that does not prove that his imagination and his intelligence, or that of his contemporaries is more rich, more varied and more vast than that of the generations of Ionia and Attica, who were the artificers of that incomparable budding and blossoming of science, philosophy, literature and art at which history marvels and who reveled in that subtle and paradoxical play of sophistical philosophy, the like of which has not again been seen. The sophists—Photagoras, Gorgias, Socrates, Plato, etc., stated, discussed and solved the problems of the spiritualistic philosophy and many others besides: yet the Hellenes of Asia Minor and of Greece had emerged from barbarism only a few centuries before. Many reasons may be cited to explain this arrest in human development, but the principal one is the subjection of woman.


Capitalist production, which takes charge of most of the labors to which woman devoted herself in the gentile house, has levied into its army of wage-workers in factory, shop, office and schoolroom, the wives and daughters of the working class and of the small bourgeoisie, in order to procure cheap labor. Its pressing need of intellectual capacities has set aside the venerable and venerated axiom of masculine ethics: "to read, write and count ought to be all of a woman's knowledge;" it has required that girls like boys be instructed in the rudiments of the sciences. The first step once taken, they could not be forbidden to enter the universities. Thev proved that the feminine brain, which the intellectuals had declared a "child's brain," was as capable as the masculine brain of receiving all scientific instruction. The abstract sciences (mathematics, geometry, mechanics, etc.), the first whose study had been accessible to woman, were also the first in which they could give the measure of their intellectual capacities; they are now attacking the experimental sciences (physiology, physics, chemistry, applied mechanics, etc), in America and Europe there arises a throng of women who are marching on a level with men in spite of the inferiority of the conditions of development in which they have lived since their first infancy.

As Capitalism has not snatched woman from the domestic hearth and launched her into social production to emancipate her, but to exploit her more ferociously than man, so it has been careful not to overthrow the economic, legal, political and moral barriers which had been raised to seclude her in the marital dwelling. Woman, exploited by capital, endures the miseries of the free laborer and bears in addition her chains of the past. Her economic misery is aggravated; instead of being supported by her father or husband, to whose rule she still submits, she is obliged to earn her living; and under the pretext that she has fewer necessities than man, her labor is paid less; and when her daily toil in the shop, the office or school is ended, her labor in the household begins. Motherhood, the sacred, the highest of social functions, becomes in capitalistic society a cause of horrible misery, economic and physiologic. The social and economic condition of woman is a danger for the reproduction of the species.

But this crushing and pitiful condition announces the end of her servitude, which begins with the establishment of private property and which can end only with its abolition. Civilized humanity, oppressed by the mechanical mode of production, turns its face toward a society, based on common property, in which woman, delivered from the economic, legal and moral chains which bind her, may develop freely her physical and intellectual faculties, as in the time of the communism of the savages.

The savages, to forbid primitive promiscuity and successfully restrain the circle of sexual relations, found no other means than to separate the sexes; there are reasons for believing that the women took the initiative in this separation, which the specialization of their functions consolidated and emphasized. This was manifested socially by religious ceremonials and secret languages peculiar to each set and even by struggles; [6] and after having taken the character of violent antagonism, it ended in the brutal subjection of woman, which still survives although it is progressively attenuated in proportion as the competition of the two sexes becomes more general and intense upon the economic field. But the modern antagonism will not end with the victory of one sex over the other, for it is one of the phenomena of the struggle of labor against capital, which will find its solution in the emancipation of the working class in which women as well as men are incorporated.

The technique of production which tends to suppress the specialization of trades and functions and to replace muscular effort by attention and intellectual skill and which, the more it is perfected, mingles and confounds man and woman the more in social labor, will prevent the return of the conditions which in savage and barbarous nations had maintained the separation of the sexes. Common property will put an end to the economic antagonism of specialization.

But if it is possible to catch a glimpse of the end of female servitude and of the antagonism of the sexes and to conceive for the human species an era of incomparable bodily and mental progress, brought about by women and men of a high development in muscle and brain, it is impossible to foresee the sexual relations of free and equal women and men who will not be united nor separated by sordid material interests and by the gross ethics engendered by such interests. But if we may judge by the present and the past, men, in whom the genetic passion is more violent and more continuous than in women—the same phenomenon is observed in the males and females of the whole animal series—will be obliged to exhibit their physical and intellectual qualities to win their sweethearts. Sexual selection, which, as Darwin has shown, fulfilled an important role in the development of the animal species and which, with rare exceptions, has ceased to play this part in the Indo-European races for about three thousand years, will again become one of the most active factors in the perfecting of the human race.

Motherhood and love will permit woman to regain the higher position which she occupied in primitive societies, the memory of which hat been preserved by the legends and myths of the ancient religions.


[1] The dowry has played an important role in the history of woman: at the beginning of the patriarchal period the husband buys her from her father, who has to refund her purchase price if for any cause whatever he repudiates her and sends her back to her family; later this purchase price is returned to him and constitutes her dowry, which her relatives are accustomed to double. From the moment when the wife enters into her husband's house with a dowry, she ceases to be a slave whom he may dismiss, sell and kill. The dowry, which in Rome and Athens became a legal charge upon the property of the husband, was in case of her repudiation or divorce, to be restored to her in preference to any creditor. "No pleasure is derived from the riches which a woman brings into the household." says a fragment of Euripides, "they only serve to render divorce difficult." The comic authors ridiculed the husbands, who in tear of a suit over the dowry, fell into dependence upon the wife. A character in Plautus says to a husband who is talking against his wife, "You accepted the money of her dowry, you sold your authority—imperium." The wealthy Roman matrons carried their insolence to such a point that they did not trust the management of their dowry to their husbands, they gave it over to the stewards, who sometimes fulfilled with them another service, as the evil-speaking Martial states.

Adultery on the part of the wife involved a legal divorce and the restitution of the dowry, but rather than come to this painful extremity, the husbands preferred to close their eyes to the foibles of their wives; at Rome and at Athens the law had to strike at them in order to recall them to their marital dignity; in China a certain number of bamboo strokes were applied to the soles of their feet. The penalties not being sufficient to encourage the husbands to repudiate their adulterous wives, the law, in order to prop up masculine virtue, permitted those who denounced the infidelity of the wife to retain a part of the dowry: there were then men who married only in prospect of the adultery of the wife. The Roman women evaded the law by having themselves enrolled in the censor's book on the list of prostitutes, to whom it did not apply. The number of matrons inscribed became so considerable that the Senate, under Tiberius passed a decree forbidding "women who had a patrician for a grandfather, husband or father to traffic in their bodies." (Tacitus. Annals II., 85.) Adultery on the part of the wife in the patrician society of antiquity, as well as in the aristocratic society of the eighteenth century, had become so general that it had so to speak entered into the social customs. It was looked upon lightly as a corrective and accompaniment of marriage.

[2] The Saint Simon manifesto of 1830 announced that the religion of Saint Simon had come "to put an end to that shameful traffic, that legal prostitution, which under the name of marriage often blesses the monstrous union of self-surrender and egoism, of light and of ignorance, of youth and decrepitude."

[3] The French companies make no differences between the sexes because they pay very small annuities. La Generale, the most important one in France. gives for $1,000 at the age of 50 years an annuity of $64.20: at 60 years $80.80; at 70 years $118.50; at 80 years $134.70. Thus it realizes immense profits: its shares which in 1819 were worth 780 francs each were quoted last January at 31,300 francs.

[4] E. Legou. "Some Considerations on the Development of the Foetus." Paris 1903. The weights and measurements of E. Legou were made for official use.

[5] The latest observations upon ants and bees tend to prove that the fertilized eggs would give birth to females and to workers; and the nonfertilized to males, which consequently would be born from eggs that are less complex.

[6] A. W. Howit, who observed among the Australians a species of sexual totemism, says happens that it often happens that the women and men of one clan fight, when the animal that serves as the totem for one sex is killed by the other sex.


Inquiries Into the Origin of the idea of Justice and the idea of Goodness

Paul Lafargue

Written: ca. 1906

Source: Social and Philosophical Studies

Translated: Charles Kerr

First Published: Charles Kerr and Co., Co-operative, 1906


It often happens in the history of thought that hypotheses and theories, after having been the object of study and discussion, disappear from the field of intellectual activity to reappear only after a season of oblivion more or less prolonged. Then they are examined anew in the light of the knowledge accumulated during the interval, and sometimes they end by being included in the baggage of acquired truths.

The theory of the continuity of species—unconsciously admitted by the savage, who takes for his ancestors plants and animals endowed with human qualities, scientifically foreseen by the thinkers of antiquity and the Renaissance, brilliantly defined by the naturalists at the close of the eighteenth century—had sunk into so deep an oblivion after the memorable debate between Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and Cuvier that its conception was attributed to Darwin when he revived it in 1859 in his "Origin of Species." The proofs, which in 1831 had been lacking for Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire to bring victory for his thesis, "Unity of Plan," had been accumulated in such abundance that Darwin and his disciples had been able to complete the theory and impose it on the scientific world.

The materialistic theory of the origin of abstract ideas had a similar experience: put forth and discussed by the thinkers of Greece, taken up in England by the philosophers of the seventeenth century, and in France by those of the eighteenth century—it has since the triumph of the Bourgeoisie been eliminated from philosophical preoccupations.

Alongside of the ideas which correspond to things and persons, there exist others which have no tangible counterpart in the objective world, such as the ideas of the Just, the True, the Good, the Evil; of Number, Cause and Infinity. If we are ignorant of the cerebral phenomenon which transforms the sensation into an idea—just as we do not know how a dynamo transforms motion into electricity—we have no trouble in taking account of the origin of the ideas which are the conceptions of objects apprehended by the senses; while the origin of the abstract ideas which do not correspond to any objective reality, has been the object of studies which have not yet given definite results.

The Greek philosophers, whom we meet at the entrance of all the avenues of thought, have stated and tried to solve the problem of abstract ideas. Zeno (the founder of the Stoic School) looked upon the senses as the source of knowledge, but the sensation became a conception only after having undergone a series of intellectual transformations.

The savages and barbarians, who were the creators of the Latin and Greek languages, anticipating the philosophers, seemed to have believed that thoughts proceeded from sensations, since in Greek eidos, the physical appearance of the object, that which strikes the view, signifies "idea"; and in Latin sapientia, the taste of an object, that which strikes the palate, becomes "reason."

Plato, on the contrary, thought that the ideas of the Good, the True, the Beautiful, were innate, unchangeable, universal. "The soul in its journey in the track of God, disdaining what we improperly call beings, and raising its glances toward the one true Being had contemplated it and remembered what it had seen." (Phaedrus). Socrates had also placed apart from humanity a Natural Right whose laws, nowhere written, are nevertheless respected by all the world, although men may have never assembled together to enact them by a common agreement. [1]

Aristotle does not seem to have so robust a faith in Natural Right, which he jests at pleasantly when he assures us that it was inviolable only for the gods, however, the immortals of Olympus were quite at their ease with this Natural Right, and their doings and practices were so grossly shocking to the morals current among mortals, that Pythagoras condemned to the torments of hell the souls of Homer and Hesiod for having ventured to relate them.

Right, Aristotle said, was not universal. According to him it could only exist between equal persons. The father of a family, for example, could not commit an injustice toward his wife, his children or his slaves, nor toward any person in dependence on him. He could strike them, sell them and kill them without thereby departing from the right. Aristotle, as is usually done, adapted his Right to the manners of his epoch; as he did not conceive of the transformation of the patriarchal family, he found himself obliged to erect its customs into principles of right. But instead of according to Right a universal and immutable character, he conceded to it only a relative value and limited its action to persons placed on an equal footing.

But, how is it that his teacher Plato, whose mind was so subtle, who had under his eyes the same customs and who had no idea of their abolition, since in his ideal republic he introduced slavery—had not the same opinions regarding the relativity of Justice? A word dropped by Aristotle gives room for the theory that Plate, like the priests of the Sacred Mysteries and a majority of the sophists, had not explained in his writings the whole of his philosophy, but had revealed it only to a small number or trusted disciples. He might have been intimidated by the condemnation of Socrates and the dangers incurred at Athens by Anaxogaras, who had imported thither from Ionia the Philosophy of Nature, and who escaped death only in flight.

This opinion is confirmed by an attentive and comparative reading of the dialogues of Plato, who, as Goethe remarks, often makes game of his readers. In any event, the teacher of Socrates and several of the disciples of the latter had but a slender idea of the immutability of Justice. Archelaus, who merited the surname of "Naturalist" (Phusikos), and who was the teacher of Socrates, denied Natural Right and maintained that civil laws were the only formation for the notions of the Just and the Unjust. Aristippus, who, like Plato, was the disciple of Socrates, declared his profound contempt for Natural and Social Right, and professed that the wise man ought to put himself above civil laws and permit himself to do all they forbid when he could do so in safety: the action which they forbid being bad only in the vulgar opinion, invented to keep fools in check. [2] Plato, without having the boldness to put forth such doctrines, showed by his acknowledged respect for pederasty, the little importance he attached to the laws of Natural Right. This love against nature, forbidden to slaves, was the privilege of free citizens and virtuous men; in the "Republic" (Book 5) Socrates makes of this one of the rewards for warlike courage.

The quarrel over the origin of ideas was rekindled in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in England and France when the Bourgeoisie was setting itself in motion and preparing to grasp the dictatorship of society. There are no innate ideas, declared Diderot and the Encyclopedists. Man comes into the world as a blank tablet on which the objects of nature engrave their impressions as time passes. The Sensationalist school of Condillac formulated its famous axiom, "Nothing exists in the understanding which has not originally been in the senses." Buffon advised the gathering of facts in order to procure ideas, which are nothing but compared sensations, or more accurately, associations of sensations.

Descartes, reviving the method of introspection, and the "Know Thyself" of Socrates, and bringing again into use the Chinese puzzle of the Alexandrian School, "Given the Self, to find God," isolated himself in his ego in order to know the universe, and dated from his ego the beginning of philosophy, for which he is reproached by Vico. As in his ego purified from beliefs that have been taught, or, so to speak, from the prejudices conceived from infancy by the senses, as well as from all truths taught by the sciences, Descartes found the ideas of Substance, of Cause, etc.; he supposed them to be inherent in the intelligence and not acquired by experience. They were, according to Kant's expression, universal and necessary ideas, rational concepts whose objects can not be furnished by experience, but existing incontestably in our mind; whether we know it or not, we hold at every moment certain necessary and universal judgments; in the simplest propositions are contained the principles of Substance, Cause and Being.

Leibnitz replied to those who with Locke, affirmed that ideas were introduced by way of the senses, that in fact nothing existed in the understanding which had not originally been in the senses, except the understanding itself. Man, according to him, brought with him at birth certain ideas and conceptions concealed in his understanding which the encountering of exterior objects brought to light. The intelligence is preformed before individual experience begins. He compared the ideas and conceptions anterior to experience to the different colored veins which streak a block of marble, and which the skillful sculptor uses to adorn the statues he chisels from it.

Hobbes, who, before Locke, had said in his treatise on "Human Nature," that there were no ideas which had not previously existed in sensation, and that the sensations are the origins of ideas—reproducing the thesis of Archelaus, maintained in his "De Cive," that we must turn to the civil laws to know what was just and what was unjust. They indicate to us what must be called theft, murder, adultery or injury to a citizen; for it is not a theft simply to take away from some one that which he possesses, but that which belongs to him; now it is for the law to determine what is ours and what is another's. Likewise, not every homicide is murder but rather when one kills one whom the civil law forbids putting to death; nor is it adultery to lie with a woman, but only to have to do with a woman whom the law forbids approaching." [3]

The patricians of Rome and Athens committed no adultery in having connection with the wives of artisans, in quas stuprum non committitur "against whom a crime is not committed," said the brutal legal formula. They were consecrated to the aristocratic debauch. In our days the husband who in England should kill his wife, taken in the act of adultery, would be summarily hanged as a vulgar assassin; while in France, far from being punished he becomes a hero, who has avenged his honor. The course of a river suffices to transform a crime into a virtuous act, so said, before Pascal, the skeptic Montaigne. (Book 2, Chapter 13.)

Locke maintained that ideas came from two sources, sensation and reflection. Condillac apparently deprived the English philosopher's doctrine of one of its sources, reflection, leaving only sensation—which was transformed into attention, comparison, judgment, reason, and finally into desire and will.

His ex-disciple, Maine de Biran, casting sensation to the winds and restoring to honor the method of Descartes, who drew everything from his ego as from a well, found in the understanding the point of departure of his ideas. [4] The concepts of "Cause and Substance," he said, "are antecedent in our mind to the two principles which contain them. We first think these ideas within ourselves, in our knowledge of the Cause and the Substance that we are; once these ideas acquired, induction carries them outside of us and makes us conceive of causes and substances wherever there are phenomena and qualities." The principle of Cause and of Substance reduces itself to nothing but a phenomenon or rather a fiction of our understanding, to use Hume's phrase. The introspective method of Descartes and Socrates, which the Bourgeois spiritualists abused so liberally, leads on one side to skepticism and on the other to impotence, for, "to pretend to illuminate the depths of psychological activity by means of the individual consciousness is like wishing to light the universe with a match," says Maudsley.

The final victory of the Bourgeoisie in England and in France impressed a complete revolution upon philosophic thought. The theories of Hobbes, Locke and Condillac, after having occupied the center of the stage, were dethroned. People no longer deigned to discuss them and they were never mentioned unless truncated and falsified, to serve as examples of the wanderings into which the human spirit falls when it abandons the ways of God. The reaction went so far that under Charles X even the philosophy of the sophists of spiritualism fell under suspicion. An attempt was made to forbid their teaching in colleges. [5] The triumphant Bourgeoisie re-established on the altar of its Reason the eternal truths and the most vulgar spiritualism. Justice, which the philosophers of Greece, England and France had reduced to reasonable proportions, which suited it to the conditions of the social environment in which it was manifested, became a necessary, immutable and universal principle.

"Justice," cried one of the most academic sophists of the Bourgeois philosophy, "is invariable and always present, although it arrives only by degrees in human thought and in social facts. The limits of its field of action are ever extended and never narrowed; no human power can make it leave ground once acquired.

The Encyclopedists threw themselves with revolutionary enthusiasm into the quest of the origin of ideas, which they hoped to find by questioning the intelligence of children and savages. [6] The new philosophy scornfully rejected these inquiries which were of a nature to lead to dangerous results. "Let us set aside in the first place the question of origin," exclaimed Victor Cousin, the master sophist, in his argument on the True, the Good and the Beautiful. "The philosophy of the last century was too complaisant to questions of this sort. To what purpose shall we call on the region of darkness for light, or on a mere hypothesis for the explanation of reality; why go back to a pretended primitive stage in order to account for a present stage which can be studied in itself; why inquire into the germ of that which can be perceived and which needs to be known in its finished and perfect form? We deny absolutely that human nature should be studied in the famous savage of Aveyron or in his peers of the Islands of Oceanica or the American Continent. The true man is man perfect in his type; the true human nature is human nature arrived at its full development, as the true society is also the perfected society. Let us turn away our eyes from the child and the savage to fix them upon the actual man, the real and finished man." (15th and 16th Lessons.) The ego of Socrates and Descartes could not but inevitably lead to the adoration of the bourgeois, the man perfect in his kind, real, finished,—the type of human nature arrived at its complete development and to the consecration of bourgeois society, the finished social order, founded upon the eternal and immutable principles of Goodness and Justice.

It is time to inquire into the value of this Justice and these eternal truths of Bourgeois spiritualism and to reopen the debate on the origin of ideas.



We may apply to the instinct of animals what the spiritualist philosophers call innate ideas Beasts are born with an organic pre-disposition an intellectual pre-formation, according to Leibnitz's phrase, which permits them to accomplish spontaneously, without going through the school of any experience, the most complicated acts necessary to their individual preservation and the propagation of their species. This pre-formation is nowhere more remarkable than in the insects which go through metamorphoses, as the butterfly and may-bug. According to their transformations, they adopt different kinds of life rigorously correlated with each of the new forms which they take on. Sebastien Mercier was altogether right when he declared that "instinct was an innate idea." [7] The spiritualists, not having the idea that instinct might be the result of the slow adaptation of a species of animals to the conditions of its natural environment, conclude stoutly that instinct is a gift of God. Man has never hesitated to put out of his reach the causes of the phenomena which escape him. But instinct is not like the Justice of the sophists of spiritualism, an immutable faculty, susceptible of no deviation, no modification. Domestic animals have more or less modified the instincts which God in his inexhaustible goodness bestowed on their savage ancestors. The chickens and ducks of our backyards have almost lost their instinct of flight, which became useless in the artificial environment in which man has placed them for centuries. The aquatic instincts has been obliterated in the ducks of Ceylon to such a degree that they have to be pushed to make them go into the water. Different varieties of chickens, Houdans, LaFleche, Campine, etc., have been robbed of the imperative instinct of maternity; although excellent layers they never think of sitting on their eggs. The calves in certain parts of Germany for generations have been taken from their mothers at birth, and among the cows a notable weakening of the maternal instinct has been observed. Giard thinks that one of the prime causes of that instinct in the mammals might be the organic need of relief from the milk, which makes the breasts swollen and painful.[8]

Another naturalist shows that the nest-building instinct of the stickleback must be attributed not to the Deity, but to a temporary inflammation of the kidneys during the mating season.

No very long time is necessary to reverse the best rooted instinct. Romanes cites the case of a hen which had been made to sit three times on duck's eggs and who conscientiously pushed into the water the true chickens which she had been permitted to hatch. Man has overturned the instincts of the canine race; according to his needs he has given it new instincts and afterwards has suppressed them. The dog in the savage state does not bark. The dogs of the savages are silent; civilized man has given the dog the instinct of barking and has afterwards suppressed it in dogs of certain breeds. When the hound encounters the game, he leaps upon it barking loudly, while the sight of game makes the setter mute and nails him to the spot. If the setter is of a good breed, he needs no individual education to manifest this instinct, which is relatively a new acquisition. The young dogs hunting for the first time stop mute and motionless in their path at the sight of stones, sheep, etc. The tendency is implanted in the brain, but it is blind and requires a special training. Since to modify or suppress the instincts of an animal and to develop new ones in him, it is only necessary to place him in new conditions of existence, the instinct of the wild animals is then only the result of their adaptation to the conditions of the natural environment in which they live. It is not created all at once; it is developed gradually in the animal species under the action and reaction of external and internal phenomena, which may be unknown but which necessarily have existed.

Man can study in himself the formation of instinct. He can learn nothing mentally or physically without a certain cerebral tension which relaxes in proportion as the object of study becomes more familiar. When, for example, one begins to play the piano, one must watch tentively the movement of the hands and fingers in order to strike exactly the note desired, but with habit one reaches the point of touching it mechanically without looking at the keyboard, and while thinking of other things. Just so when one studies a foreign language one must constantly keep his attention on the choice of words, articles, prepositions, terminations, adjectives, verbs, etc., which come to mind instinctively when one becomes familiar with the new language. The brain and the body of man and the animal have the property of transforming into automatic actions what originally were voluntary and conscious, and the result of a sustained attention. Without this property of automatizing himself, man would be incapable of education, physically or intellectually; if he were obliged to watch over his movements in order to speak, walk, eat, etc., he would remain in everlasting childhood. Education teaches man to dispense with his intelligence. It tends to transform him into a machine more and more complicated. The conclusion is paradoxical.

The brain of an adult is more or less automatized according to the degree of his own education and that of his race. The abstract elementary notions of Cause, Substance, Being, Number, Justice, etc., are as familiar and instinctive to him as eating and drinking, and he has lost all remembrance of the manner in which he acquired them, for civilized man, like the setter, inherits at birth the traditional habit of acquiring them at the first occasion. But this tendency to acquire them is the result of a progressive ancestral experience prolonged through thousands of years: It would be as ridiculous to think that abstract ideas germinated spontaneously in the human head as to think that the bicycle or any other machine of the most improved type had been constructed at the first attempt. Abstract ideas, like the instinct of animals, were gradually formed in the individual and in the race. To seek their origin it is not enough to analyze the manner of thinking of the civilized adult, as Descartes does, but also, as the Encyclopedists would have had it, to question the intelligence of the child and to retrace the course of the ages to study that of the barbarian and the savage, as we are obliged to do when we wish to find the origins of our political and social institutions, of our arts and our sciences. [9]

The sensationalists of the eighteenth century in making of the brain a tabula rasa, which was a radical way of renewing the "purification" of Descartes, neglected this fact of capital importance; namely, that the brain of the civilized man is a field worked for centuries and sown with concepts and ideas by thousands of generations, and that, according to the exact expression of Leibnitz, it is pre-formed before individual experience begins. We must admit that it possesses the molecular arrangement destined to give birth to a considerable number of ideas and concepts. Some such admission is required to explain that extraordinary men, like Pascal, have been able to find out for themselves more than one series of abstract ideas, such as the theorems of the first book of Euclid, which have only been elaborated by a long procession of thinkers. In any case the brain possesses such an aptitude for acquiring certain concepts and elementary ideas that it does not perceive the fact of the acquisition. The brain is not merely limited receiving impressions which come from outside, by way of the senses; it, of itself, does a molecular work, which the English physiologists call unconscious cerebration, which enables it to complete its acquisitions and even to make new ones without passing through experience. Students utilize this precious faculty when they learn their lesson imperfectly and go to bed leaving to their slumber the duty of fixing them in memory.

Indeed, the brain is full of mysteries. It is a terra incognita which the physiologists have scarcely begun to explore. It certainly possesses faculties which often find no outlet in the environment in which the individual and his race are evolving. These dormant faculties cannot therefore result from the direct action of the exterior environment upon the brain, but rather from its action upon other organs, which in their turn react upon the nervous centers. Goethe and Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire called this phenomenon the balancing of organs. Here are two historical examples.

Savages and barbarians are capable of a far greater number of intellectual operations than they accomplish in their daily life. During hundreds of years the Europeans have transported from the coast of Africa into the colonies thousands of savage and barbarian negroes, removed from civilized men by centuries of culture. Nevertheless at the end of a very short time they assimilated the crafts of civilization. The Guaranys of Paraguay, when the Jesuits undertook their education, were wandering naked in the forests, armed only with a wooden bow and club, with no knowledge, except how to cultivate maize. Their intelligence was so rudimentary that they could not count beyond twenty, using their fingers and toes. Nevertheless the Jesuits made these savages skillful operatives, capable of difficult works—such as complicated organs, geographical spheres, paintings and decorated sculptures. These trades and arts with the ideas corresponding to them did not exist in the inborn state in the hands and brain of the Guaranys. They had been, so to speak, poured into them by the Jesuits as new airs are added to a street organ. The brain of the Guaranys, if it was incapable of discovering them by its own initiative, was at least marvelously "predisposed" or "preformed," according to Leibnitz's phrase, for acquiring them.

It is equally certain that the savage is as foreign to the abstract concepts of civilized men as to their arts and crafts, which is proved by the absence in their language of terms for general ideas. How then did the abstract ideas and concepts which are so familiar to the civilized man slip into the human brain? To solve this problem, which has to so great an extent preoccupied philosophic thought, we must, like the Encyclopedists, start on the path opened up by Vico, and question language, the most important if not the first mode of manifestation of sentiments and ideas. [10] It plays so considerable a role that the Christians of the first centuries, reproducing the idea of primitive men, said, "The Word is God;" and that the Greeks designated by the same term, logos, the word and thought; and that from the verb phrazo (to speak), they derived phrazomai, to speak to one's self, to think. Indeed the most abstract head cannot think without employing words—without speaking to himself mentally, if he does not do so really, like children and many adults who murmur what they think. Language holds too great a place in the development of the intellect for the etymological formation of words and their successive meanings to fail of reflecting the conditions of life and the mental state of the men who created and used them.

One fact strikes us at the outset; often one and the same word is used to designate an abstract idea and a concrete object. The words which in European languages signify material goods, and the straight line, have also the meaning of the moral Good and Right, Justice;

Ta agatha (Greek) goods, wealth; to agathom, the good.

Bona (Latin), goods; bonum (Latin) the good.

Les biens (French) goods; le Bien, the good.

Orthos (Greek), rectum (Latin), derecho (Spanish), droit, (French), etc. have the double meaning of being in a straight line and that of Right, Justice.

Here again are other examples chosen in the Greek language: Kalon, arrow, javelin, beauty, virtue; phren, heart, entrails, reason, will; kakos, man of plebeian origin, base, wicked, ugly; kakon, vice, crime. The word kakos contributes to the formation of a series of terms, employed for what is vile and evil; kakke, excrement: kakkia, vice, baseness; kakotheos, impious; kakophonia, unpleasant sound, etc.

The fact is worth attention, although little noticed. This is the way with daily phenomena; because they fill the eyes they are not seen. Nevertheless, it is worth considering how the vulgar tongue and the philosophic and legal tongue have joined under the same term the material and the ideal, the concrete and the abstract. Two questions are raised at the very outset: first, have the abstract and the ideal been degraded into the concrete and into the material, or have the material and concrete transformed themselves into the ideal and abstract?—and how has this transsubstandation been accomplished?

The history of successive meanings of words solves the first difficulty: it shows the concrete meaning always preceding the abstract meaning.

Aissa (Greek), used at first for the lot or portion which falls to any one in a division, ends by meaning a decree of destiny:

Moira, at first the portion of a guest at a banquet, the lot of a warrior in the distribution of booty; then one's portion in life and finally the goddess Destiny, to whom "gods and mortals are equally subject."

Nomos begins by being used for pasturage and ends by meaning law.

The link which attaches the abstract meaning to the concrete meaning is not always apparent. Thus it is difficult at first glance to perceive how the human mind could have linked pasturage to the abstract idea of law, the straight line to the idea of Justice, the share of a guest at a banquet to immutable destiny. I shall show the links which unite these different meanings in the article on the "Origins of the ideas, Justice and Goodness." It is only important at this moment to point out the fact.

The human mind ordinarily employs the same method of work in spite of the difference in the objects on which it operates: for example, the road which it has followed to transform sounds into vowels and consonants is the same as that which is traversed in rising from the concrete to the abstract. The origin of letters appeared so mysterious to the Bishop Mallinkrot, that in his "De Arte Typographica," to put his mind at rest, he attributed their invention to God, who was already the author of instinct and abstract ideas. But the researches of philologists have torn away one by one the veils enveloping the alphabetical mystery. They have shown that letters did not fall ready-made from heaven, but man arrived only gradually at representing the sounds by consonants and vowels. I shall mention the first steps traversed, which are useful for my demonstration.

Man begins by picture-writing. He represents an object by its image, a dog by drawing of a dog. He passes then to symbolical writing, and pictures a part for the whole, the head of an animal for the entire animal. Then he rises to metaphorical writing: he portrays an object having some resemblance, real or supposed, with the idea to be expressed—the forepart of a lion to signify the idea of priority, a cubit for Justice and Truth, a vulture for maternity. The first attempt at phonetics was made by rebuses; the sound was represented by the image of an object having the same sound. The Egyptians, calling the pig's tail deb, represented the sound deb by the picture of the curled tail of a pig. Finally a certain number of pictures are preserved more or less modified, no longer for the phonetic value of several syllables, but for that of the initial syllable, etc., etc. [11]

Writing had inevitably to pass through the metaphorical stage since primitive man thinks and speaks in metaphors. The Redskin of America to indicate a brave warrior said "he is like the bear;" the man with piercing glance is like the eagle; to affirm that he forgives an outrage he declares "he buries it in the earth," etc. These metaphors are for us sometimes undecipherable thus, it is difficult to understand how the Egyptians came to represent in their hieroglyphics Justice and Truth by the cubit, and maternity by the vulture. I shall disentangle the metaphor of the vulture. In the next article I will explain that of the cubit.

The matriarchal family had in Egypt an extraordinary longevity, as is shown in its religious myths by numerous traces of the antagonism of the two sexes; struggling, the one to preserve its high position in the family, the other to dispossess it. The Egyptian like Apollo in the Eumenides of Aeschylus, declares that it is man who fulfills the important function in the act of generation, and that woman, "like the pistil of a fruit, only receives and nourishes his germ." The Egyptian woman returns the compliment and boasts that she conceives without the co-operation of man. The statue of Neith, the mother goddess, the "Sovereign Lady of the upper regions;" bore at Sais the arrogant inscription: "I am all that has been, all that is and all that shall be. No one has lifted my robe. The fruit I have borne is the Sun." Her name, among other signs, has for its emblem the vulture and the first letter of the word mother (mou). [12]

Now the hieroglyphics of Horapollon teach us that the Egyptians believed that in the species of vultures there were no males and that the females were fertilized by the wind. They attributed to that bird, everywhere else regarded as ferocious, a motherly tenderness so extreme that it tore its breast to nourish its little ones. So, after having made of it, by reason of its strange generative property, the bird of Neith, the mother goddess, who herself also propagates without the co-operation of the male, they made of it the symbol of the mother, then of maternity.

This characteristic example gives an idea of the twists and turns through which the human mind passes to picture its abstract ideas through the images of concrete objects.

If in the metaphorical and emblematic writing the image of a material object becomes the symbol of an abstract idea, it is seen that a word created to denote an object or one of its attributes ends by serving to denote an abstract idea.

In the mind of the child and of the savage—"that child of the human race," as Vico calls him—there exist only images of definite objects. When the little child says doll, he does not mean to speak of any doll no matter which, but of one certain doll that he has held in his hands and that has already been shown him, and if another is offered him it results in his rejecting it with anger; so, every word is for him a proper name, the symbol of the object with which he has come in contact. His language, like that of the savage, possesses no generic terms embracing a class of objects of the same nature, but one series after another of proper names. Thus the savage languages have no terms for general ideas, such as "man," "body," etc., and for the abstract ideas, Time, Cause, etc. There are some which have not the verb, "to be." The Tasmanian had an abundance of words for every tree of the different species, but no term for saving tree in general. The Malay has no word for color, although he has words for every color. The Tbiponne has not words for man, body, time, etc. and he does not possess the verb to be. He does not say, "I am Abiponne," but, "Me Abiponne." [13]

But by degrees the child and primitive man carry over the name and the idea of the first persons and things they have known to all the persons and things which present a real or fictitious resemblances with them. They elaborate after a fashion, by way of analogy and comparison, certain general and abstract ideas embracing groups of objects, more or less extended, and sometimes the proper name of one object becomes the symbolic term of the abstract idea representing the group of objects having analogies with the object for which the word had been coined. Plato maintains that the general ideas thus obtained, which classify objects without taking account of their individual differences, are "essences of divine origin." Socrates in the Tenth Book of the "Republic" says that the idea of bed is an essence of divine creation, because it is immutable, always identical with itself, while the beds created by cabinet makers all differ among themselves.

The human mind has often brought together the most dissimilar objects having only a vague point of resemblance among themselves. Thus by a process of anthropomorphism man has taken his own members for terms of comparison, as is proved by the metaphors which persist in civilized languages although they date from the beginning of humanity, such as the "bowels of the earth," the "veins of a mine," the "heart of an oak," "tooth of a saw," the "gorge of a mountain," the "arm of the sea," etc. When the abstract idea of measure takes shape in his brain, he takes for a unit of measure his foot, his hand, his thumb, his arms (Orgyia a Greek measure equal to two arms extended). So every measure is a metaphor. When we speak of an object three feet, two inches in extent, we mean that it is as long as three feet two thumbs. But with the development of civilization, people were forced to resort to other units of measure. Thus the Greeks took the stadion, the distance travesed in the footrace at the Olympic Games; and the Latins jugerum, the surface which could be plowed in one day by a jugum (a yoke of oxen).

An abstract word, as Max Muller remarks, is often only an adjective transformed into a substantive;—that is to say the attribute of an object metamorphosed into a personage, into a metaphysical entity, into an imaginary being, and it is by way of metaphor that this metampsychosis is accomplished. The metaphor is one of the principal ways by which the abstract penetrates into the human brain. In the preceding metaphors, they speak of the mouth of a cavern, a tongue of land, because the mouth presents an opening and the tongue an elongated form. The same process has served to procure new terms of comparison in proportion as the need of them has made itself felt, and it is always the most salient property of the object, that which consequently impresses the senses most vividly, which is made the term of comparison.

A great number of savage languages have no words for the abstract ideas of hardness, roundness, warmth, etc., and they are deprived of them because the savage has not yet succeeded in creating the imaginary beings or metaphysical entities which correspond to these terms. Thus, for hard he says "lie stone," or round "like the moon," for hot, "like the sun;" because the qualities of hard, round and hot are in his brain inseparable from stone, moon and sun. It is only after a long process of brain work that these qualities are detached, abstracted from these concrete objects to be metamorphosed into imaginary beings. Then the qualifying term becomes a substantive and stands for the abstract idea formed in the brain.

No savage tribes have been found without the idea of number, the abstract idea par excellence, although the numeration of certain savages does not go beyond twenty. It is probable that even animals can count up to two. Here is an observation I have made, which is easy to repeat, and which would seem to prove it: the pigeon, although sitting on two eggs—with very rare exceptions—nevertheless has the property of laying eggs at will. If, after she has laid two eggs one is taken away, the female lays a third and even a fourth and fifth if the eggs are taken as fast as she lays them. She requires two eggs in the nest before she begins to sit. The domestic pigeon, overfed, may sometimes lay three eggs; when that happens she pushes one out of the nest, or else leaves it if she cannot push out the superfluous egg.

It would seem that the abstract idea of number, contrary to Vico's opinion, is one of the first, if not the first, to be formed in the brain of animals and man; for if all objects have not the property of being round, hard or hot, etc., they have nevertheless one quality which is common to them, that of being distinct from one another, by their form and the relative position which they occupy, and this duality is the point of departure of numeration. [14] The brain substance must have the idea of number; that is to say, be able to distinguish the objects from each other, in order to carry on its function. This was recognized by the Pythagorean Philoiaus, the first who, according to Diogenes of Laercia, affirmed that the motion of the earth described a circle, when he declared that number resides in all that is, and without it nothing can be known and nothing can be thought.

But the extension of numeration beyond the number two was one of the most painful of Herculean labors ever imposed upon the human brain, as is proved by the mystical character attributed to the first ten numbers; [15] and the mythological and legendary memories attached to certain figures: 10 (Siege of Troy and of Veii, which lasted exactly ten years); 12 (the 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 apostles, etc. 50 (50 sons of Priam, the 50 Danaides; Endymion, according to Pausanius made Selene the mother of 50 daughters; Acteon hunted with 50 braces of hounds when Diana metamorphosed him; the boat constructed by Danaus according to the instructions of Minerva, had 50 oars, as had that of Hercules at the time of his expedition against Troy.) These numbers are so many stages at which the human mind halted after the efforts made to reach the points, and it has marked them with legends to preserve their memory.

The savage, when he arrives at the end of his numeration, says "many" to indicate the objects which remain over and which he cannot count for lack of numbers. Vico remarks that for the Romans 60, then 100, then 1,000 were innumerable quantities. The Hovas of Madagascar say for 1,000 "evening," for 10,000 "night," and the word tapitrisa, which they use to indicate a million, is literally translated by the end of counting. It was the same for us, but since the war of 1810-1871 it is a billion which marks the limit of our popular numeration.

Language shows us that man has taken his hand, his foot and his arms for units of length. He still uses his fingers and toes for counting. F. Nansen says the Esquimaux, with whom he lived more than a year, have no name for any figure beyond five. They count on the fingers of the right hand and then stop when all the fingers have been named and touched. For six they take the left hand and say the first finger of the other hand for seven, the second finger, thus on to ten. Afterwards they count in the same fashion on the toes and stop at twenty, the limit of their enumeration: but the great mathemeticians go further and for twenty-one they say the first finger of the other man and begin again, passing over the hands and feet. Twenty is one man, one hundred is five men. The Roman figures which were used until the introduction of the Arabic figures preserve the memory of this primitive mode of numeration: 1 is one finger, 2 is two fingers, 5 is a hand with the three middle fingers folded while the little finger and the thumb are straight; 10 is two 5s or two hands crossed. But when it was necessary to count beyond the hundred and the thousand, they were obliged to resort to other objects than the human members.

The Romans took pebbles, calculi, from which is derived the word calculus in modern languages. The Latin expressions calculum ponere (to place the pebble) and subducere calculum (to take away the pebble) indicate that it was by adding and taking away pebbles that they added and subtracted. At the Familistere of Guise I saw the first two arithmetical operations taught by a similar process to children of five and six years. Pebbles were the obvious things for this use; they had already served for drawing lots in the distribution of booty and land.

Savages cannot figure in their heads. They must have before their eyes the objects which they are counting. Thus, when they make exchanges they place on the ground the objects which they are giving opposite those they receive. This primitive equation, which in the last analysis is simply a tangible metaphor, is the only thing which can satisfy their minds. Numbers, in their heads, as in those of children, are concrete ideas. When they say two, three or five, they see two, three or five fingers, pebbles or any other objects. In many savage tongues the first five figures bear the names of the fingers; it is only by a process of intellectual distillation that the numbers come to strip themselves in the head of the civilized adult of any form corresponding to a certain object, and to keep only the form of conventional signs. [16] The most idealistic metaphysician cannot think without words nor calculate without signs,—that is to say without concrete objects. The Greek philosophers when they began their inquiries on the properties of numbers, gave them geometrical forms. They divided them into three groups: the group of linear numbers (mekos), the group of the numbers of planes, squares (epipedon), the group of the numbers of three dimensions, cubes (trike auxe). [17] The modern mathematicians have still preserved the expression "linear number" for a root number.

The savage, for long, hard, round or hot, says "like the foot, stone, moon, sun;" but feet are of unequal length, stones are more or less hard, the moon is not always round, the sun is hotter in summer than in winter; so when the human mind felt the need of a higher degree of exactness, it recognized the insufficiency of the terms of comparison which it had till then used. It then imagined types of length, hardness, roundness and heat to be employed as terms of comparison. It is thus that in abstract mechanics, the mathematicians imagined a lever absolutely rigid and without thickness and a wedge absolutely incompressible in order to continue their theoretical investigations, arrested by the imperfections of the levers and wedges of reality. But the wedge and the lever of the mathematicians, like the types of length, roundness, hardness, although derived from real objects whose attributes had been submitted to intellectual distillation, no longer correspond to any real object but to ideas formed in the human head. Because the objects of reality differ among themselves and from the imaginary type, always one and identical with itself, Plato calls the real objects vain and deceptive images and the ideal type an essence of divine creation. In that case, as in a multitude of others, God, the creator, is man thinking.

Artists by an analogous process have given birth to chimeras, whose bodies, although composed of detached organs abstracted from different animals, correspond to nothing real but to a fantasm of the imagination. The chimera is an abstract idea—as abstract as any idea you please of the Beautiful, the Good, the Just, Time or Cause—but Plato, himself, did not dare to class it in the number of his divine essences.

Man, probably when barbarous tribes began to differentiate into classes, separated himself from the animal kingdom and raised himself to the rank of a supernatural being, whose destinies are the constant preoccupation of the gods and the celestial bodies. Later on he isolated the brain from the other organs to make it the seat of the soul. Natural science reintegrates man in the animal series of which he is the sum and crown; the socialist philosophy will restore the brain to the series of organs. The brain has the property of thinking as the stomach has that of digesting. It cannot think but by the aid of ideas, which it fabricates with the materials furnished it by the natural environment and the social or artificial environment in which man evolves.


[1] The Greeks seemed to have attached more Importance to the sense of sight and the Latins to the sense of taste, as is proved by the following examples:

Greek eidos aspect, physical form.

eidolon Image, shade, phantom, idea.

phantasia aspect, exterior form, image, idea.

gnoma sign, thought.

gnomon square, sun-dial, one who knows, scientist.

noeo to see, to think.

saphes plain, manifest, striking the vision.

sophia science, wisdom.

Latin sapo, savor, taste in judging food, reason.

sapidus savory, pleasant to the taste, wise, virtuous.

sapiens one with a delicate palate, wise.

sapio to have taste, to have reason, to know.

This difference, regarding the sense-sources of ideas, characterizes these two nations which played so great a historic role; the one in the evolution of thought and in its poetic and plastic manifestation, and the other in the elaboration of law, in the brutal manipulation of men and nations, and in the unified organization of the ancient world.

The very young child and the savage carry to the mouth the object they wish to know; the chemists do the same. The French word savoir, to know, and its derivative savant, scientist, combine the two meanings. Voir indicates the function of the eye; and sa the last trace of the verb sapio; indicates the function of the palate.

[2] One of the unwritten laws of Socrates was the universal agreement to forbid sexual relations between the father or mother and their children. Xenophon, who had traveled in Persia and who was not ignorant that the magi practiced this incest to honor the divinity and beget the high priests, claimed it was contrary to natural and divine law because the children who were the issue of such matings are puny. He reduced the law from the natural right of his master, Socrates, into nothing more than a physiological law acquired by experience.

Socrates would seem to have forgotten that Heslod, following the religious legends of his epoch, gives to Uranus for wife his own mother, Gala, the most ancient goddess, "the mother of all things," according to Homer; in the religions of India, Scandinavia and Egypt we meet with cases of divine incest. Brahma marries his daughter Saravasty; Odin his daughter Friggsa, and Amon in the "Anastasy Papyrus" in Berlin boasts of being the husband of his mother. These myths which may he found in all primitive religions, hare a historical value: the legends and religious ceremonies preserve the memory of epochs long buried in oblivion. The bible story of the sacrifice of Abraham and the Christian communion.—that symbolic repast in which the devout Catholic eats his incarnate God,—are the distant echoes of the human sacrifices and the cannibal feasts of the prehistoric Semites.

Man to create his religious legends employs the same process as to elaborate his ideas, he uses as materials events of his daily life: in the course of the centuries, the phenomena which gave birth to them are transformed and vanish, but the legendary or ceremonial form, which was their intellectual manifestation, survives; we need only interpret this intelligently to call up the customs of a past which was thought to be lost forever.

The incests practiced by the Persian priests, and the religious legends of peoples of such different races would us to suppose that at a remote epoch sexual relations between parents and children were a customary thing. On this point Engels remarked that the savage tribes first arrived at the point of forbidding them, must by this sole fact have acquired an advantage over their rivals and must consequently either have destroyed them or imposed their customs upon them. It is thus more than probable, that the prohibition of these incestuous marriages, the most universal custom that is known,—so universal that Socrates thought it one of the laws of his Natural Right,—has not always prevailed, and that on the contrary those sexual relations were naturally practiced in the human species emerging from the animal. But experience having demonstrated their bad effects brought about their prohibition,—as Xenophon thought. Breeders have also been obliged to prevent them among the domestic animals in order to get good results.

[3] The anarchical opinions of Aristippus and the Cyrenaic school have been reproduced at various times in the course of history. Christian sects during the first centuries and during the middle ages; and political sects during the English Revolution of the seventeenth century and the French Revolution of the eighteenth century hare revived them, and in our days certain anarchistic sects propagate them. The lack of social equilibrium translates itself in the brain by this cynical rejection of the notions of current end conventional ethics. I shall return to this interesting subject in the study devoted to the crisis of Greek philosophy.

[4] "De Cive," Sorbiere's translation Amsterdam, 1649. Hobbes in the "Leviathan" takes up the same thesis which he thought it best to entrust only to the Latin in "De Cive:" "The desires and passions of man," he said. "are not sins in themselves any more than the actions which result from these passions are faults, until a law forbids them."

[5] The intellectual evolution of M. de Biran is most interesting. It permits us to observe in the most remarkable French philosopher of the nineteenth century the sudden and extraordinary veering of bourgeois thought, from the time when from being a revolutionary class, the Biran in the manuscript of 1794, published after his death in 1824, declares that bacon and Locke founded philosophical science and that Condillac "assigned its limits and dissipated forever those dreams which are termed 'Metaphysics.' "

The National Institute in which the sensationalism of Condillac was dominant, crowned in the month of Nivose of the year IX. (1801). a study of Biran on the "influence of Custom Over the Faculty of Thought," which he had put up for competition. Biran there laid down as an axiom that the faculty of perception is the origin of all the faculties and proposed to apply Bacon's method of the study of man end to throw light on metaphysics by transporting physics into it. De Gernado, who also found it necessary to abjure "influence and his philosophy, in his monograph on the "influence of Signs on the faculty of Thought," crowned by the institute in 1800,affirmed that the doctrine of Condillac was, as it were, the last word of human reason on the doctrines which interested it the most.

The Institute crowned in 1805, a new monograph by Biran on the "Decomposition of Thought." The political stage was transformed: the victorious Bourgeoisie was occupied in re-introducing and mustering into its service the Catholic religion, which it had ridiculed, despolied and trampled under its feet when it was the maid-of-all-work of the aristocracy, its rival. While the men of politics were reorganizing the power, taking up and reinforcing the repressive forces of the ancient regime, the philosophers were up the task of clearing away the intellectual foundation of the "analytic and iconoclastic" philosophy of the Encyclopedists. The Institute in crowning this monograph of Biran, and he himself in writing it, were conscientiously fulfilling the task imposed by the new social conditions. Biran's monograph points out that there is somewhat of an illusion in the pretended analysis of Condillac, and in that sensation which transforms itself into judgment and will without one's having taken the trouble to assign to it a principle of transformation, he makes the method of Bacon—unseasonably applied to the study of the mind—responsible for the aberrations of the eighteenth century philosophy and takes his stand against any assimilation between the physical phenomenon perceived by the senses and internal facts, Sophists had succeeded to the Philosophers.

Cabanis himself, who was to die in 1808, still had time to make his change of front. In his celebrated work on the "Relations of the Physical and the Ethical in Man," which appeared in 1802, he had written: "Medicine and ethics rest upon one common basis; upon a physical knowledge of human nature...The source of human ethics is the human organization... If Condillac had understood animal economy he would have perceived that the soul is a faculty and note being. We must consider the brain as a particular organ destined especially to produce thought, just as the stomach and intestines are destined to carry on digestion. Impressions are the food of the brain....They get into the brain and set it at work....They reach it isolated, without coherence, but the brain starts on its activity acts upon them and soon sends them back metamorphosed into ideas.... Cabanis, who had written these materialistic horrors, proclaimed—in his letter to Fauriel, on "First Causes," published sixteen years after his death—the existence of God; the intelligence governing the world, and the immortality of the soul by the persistence of the ego after death. Fauriel had converted Cabanis as Fontanes had metomorphosed Chataubriand from the atheistic follower of Rousseau, who wrote the "Essays on Revolutions" in 1797, into the reactionary and mystic Chataubriand who wrote the "Genius of Christianity" In 1802. There existed then a little clique of proselyters influential in the press and departments of government who bad undertaken to bring back the straying literary men and philosophers to sound doctrines.

It is useless to waste any accusations of recanting and treason against the men who had gone through the revolution and come out on the other side. These remarkable men would perhaps have preferred to keep the political and philosophic opinions which at their start in life had brought them to the front, but they were obliged to sacrifice them to retain their means of existence and the positions they had won, and to conquer the favors of the Bourgeoisie grown wise. They replaced these opinions by the politics and philosophy suitable to its material interests and satisfying its intellectual needs. Besides, they were bourgeois, following the influences of their social environment evolved with their class and they could make this change of skin without excessive pains. So it is not a case for moral indignation, but for investigation and analysis of the social causes which imposed upon them certain political changes of front and certain intellectual transformations. There are few moments in history where we can grasp better than in the first years of the nineteenth century, the direct action of social events upon thought. This epoch is all the more characteristic that it is then that were formulated almost all the economic, political. philosophical, religious, literary and artistic theories which were thenceforth to form the bulk of the intellectual baggage of the new ruling class.

[6] "In these last years," a professor of philosophy writes In 1828, "authority has almost brought back the study of philosophy to the age of Scholasticism...It has been ordered that lessons be given in Latin and under the form of ancient argumentation. This order is carried out in the most of our colleges....They are philosophizing in Latin from one end of France to the other, with the ceremonial and the etiquette of the ancient syllogism: and on what are they philosophizing? On the thesis oh the school and on objects which correspond to them; that is to say that the argument is on logic, metaphysics and ethics. (Essay on the "History of Philosophy in France in the Nineteenth Century" by Ph. Damlron, Professor of Philosophy In the College of Bourbon, Paris. 1828).

[7] La Societe des observateurs de l'homme (Society of the Observers of Man), of which Cuvier the alienist Pinel, the philosopher Gerando, the jurist Portalls, etc., were members voted In the month of Prairlal VIII. (1800) a prize of 600 francs for the following study: To determine by the daily observation of one or several children in the cradle the order in which the physical intellectual and moral faculties are developed, and to what point this development is helped or hindered by the influence of objects and persons surrounding the child.

In the same Session, reported In the "Decade Philosophique" of the 30th day of Prairial, Gerando offered certain ideas on the methods to be followed in the observations of savage nations. Another member contributed an essay on the childhood of Massieu, deaf and dumb from birth.

The Society was greatly interested in the observation of the young savage from Aveyron brought to Paris about the end of the year VIII. (1800). Three hunters found him in the forest where he lived naked, living on scorns and roots. He was apparently about ten years old.

[8] On the seventh day of Nivose in the year VIII. (1800), S. Mercier delivered in Paris, just emerging from the Revolution, the first lecture on Innate Ideas, in order to "dethrone Condillac, Locke and their metaphysics." To Royer-Collard is attributed the first awakening of spiritualist philosophy, completely out of fashion for half a century. This honor, if honor there be, reverts to this unbalanced intellect, which opposed Kant to the Encyclopedists and noisily proposed to refute Newton, "that atonomist of light, who can imagine nothing more ridiculous than to make the earth turn like a turkey before the solar hearth." Bourgeois spiritualism could not have in France a more worthy godfather.

The lectures of Mercier made a sensation: they were largely attended. The Decade Philosophique" of the Tenth Floreal gives an account of the lecture on innate ideas. "I admit them," he exclaimed at the start, "and in this I obey my inmost reason...Man thinks independently objects and senses...Innate ideas explain everything. The picture of the ideas of a man would be the picture of celestial truths....Instinct is an innate Idea."

Mercier had a precedent, the celebrated decree of Robespierre, which re-established God like an ordinary police commissioner who had been thrown out.

Art. 1. The French Nation recognizes the existence of the Supreme Being and the Immortality of the soul.

Art. 4. Feasts shall he instituted to recall to man the thought of divinity and the dignity of his being.

A hymn recited at the feast of the restoration of the Supreme Being after the speech of Robespierre predicted the end of Atheism:

Where are they who dared threaten Thee

Who under the mantle of civism

Vile professors of Atheism

Hoped to efface Thee from the heart of man

Did they think then

That in returning to nature

One would forget the Author of Nature?

[9] The supplement of Figaro for January 1880. reproduced from the letters of a missionary, the native lamentations of an Indian woman at the equator over the corpse of her new-born child, which illustrates the part played by the milk in the primitive maternal love: "Oh! my master, Oh! son of my vitals, my little father, my love, why have you left me? For you every day this breast with which you loved to play filled itself with warm milk. Ungrateful one! have I once forgotten you? Oh! woe is me: I have no longer anyone to deliver my bosom from the milk which oppresses it."

[10] The ancients were not afraid to go back to the animals in order to discover the beginnings of certain of our sciences: thus while attributing to the gods the origin of medicine, they admitted that several remedies and operations of minor surgery were due to the animals. The elder Pliny reports in his "Natural History" that the wild goats of Crete taught the use of certain healing herbs; the dog taught that of the couchgrass; and that the Egyptians asserted that the discovery of purging was due to the dog, that of bleeding to the hippopotamus and that of injection to the ibis.

[11] Vico, in the preface of his little work on the "Ancient Wisdom of Italy," says, "I have resolved to find in the origins of the Latin language the ancient wisdom of Italy. We shall seek its philosophy in the origin of the words themselves."

[12] F. Lenormand's "Essay on the Propagation of the Phonceian Alphabet among the Nations of the Ancient World."

[13] Champoillon le Jeune: Pantheon Egyptian, 1825.

[14] The idea of time was long in penetrating into the human brain. Vico remarks that the Florentine peasants or his epoch said so many harvests for so many years. The Latins for so many years said so many ears of corn, (aristas) something still more concrete than harvests. The expression merely indicated their poverty (and of language and of thought, he might hare added). The grammarians believe they see in an attempt at art. Before having the concept of the year—that is to say, of the sun`s revolution—man had the idea of the seasons and that of the revolutions of the moon. The elder Pliny said that the summer was counted for one year, the winter for another. The Arcadians, with whom the year was three months, measured it by the number of seasos, and the Egyptians by the moon. That is why several of them are cited as having lived a thousand years.

[15] Plato, who in the Timaeus represents an astronomer as speaking and who for the moment forgets his essences of divine origin, gives a materialistic origin of Number and Time. "The observation of day and night, the revolutions of the months and the years hare furnished us Number, revealed Time and inspired the desires of knowing Nature and the world."

[16] The decade had a sacred character for the Pythagorians and the Cabalists. The Scandinavians regarded the number three and its multiple nine as particularly dear to the gods. Every ninth month they made bloody sacrifices which lasted nine days, during which they sacrificed nine victims, man or animal. The Catholic Neuvaines, which are prayers lasting nine days, preserve the memory of this cult, and their holy trinity preserves the mystical character which all savage nations attach to the number three. It occurs In all primitive religions; three Parcae among the Greeks and the Scandinavians, three goddesses of life among the Iroquois.

[17] The Greeks employed for figures the letters of the alphabet, preserving the ancient Cadmean letters which carried the numbers up to twenty-seven. The first nine letters were the units, the next nine the tens and the last nine the hundreds.

It must have been extremely painful and difficult to calculate with the figures of the Greeks and Romans, who did not possess the zero. The metaphysical abstractors of abstractions of Nirvana were the only ones capable of inventing this marvelous figure—the symbol of nothing, which has no value and which gives value, and which according to the expression of Pascal, is a true indivisible of number as the indivisible is a true zero. The zero plays so considerable a part in modern numeration that its Arabic name sifr—which the Portuguese transformed into cifra, the English into cipher, the French into chiffre—after having first been employed for zero alone, serves to designate all the signs of number.


Paul Lafargue


1. Beiden grossen Utopisten. 1922

2. De Leon, Daniel, 1852-1914. Socialism versus anarchism: an address / by Daniel De Leon. (Inrto by Paul Lafargue) 1962

3. Engels, Friedrich, 1820-1895. Correspondence / Frederick Engels, Paul and Laura Lafargue ; (translated by Yvonne Kapp). 1959

4. Engels, Friedrich, 1820-1895. En-ko-ssu yü Pao-erh La-fa-ko, Lao-la La-fa-ko t`ung hsin chi / Pei-ching ti erh wai kuo yü hsüeh yüan Fa yü chuan yeh 73 chi shih sheng ho i; Hu Chih-chen chiao. 1979

5. Communisme et l'évolution économique. 1926

6. Critiques littéraires. Introduction de Jean Fréville. 1936

7. Droit á la paresse. Présentation nouvelle de Maurice Dommanget. 1969

8. Droit á la paresse: réfutation du droit au travail de 1848; augmenté et actualisé par les écrits de Keuk Djian. 1972

9. Evolution of property: from savagery to civilization; and, Social and philosophical studies, Paul Lafargue; (translated from the French by C. H. Kerr). 1975

10. Karl Marx, his life and work; reminiscences by Paul Lafargue and Wilhelm Liebknecht. 1943

11. Karl Marx; recuerdos de su vida y su obra [por] Pablo LaFargue [y] G. Liebknecht. 1943

12. Karl Marx, the man. Tr. by Henry Kuhn. 1947

13. Légende de Victor Hugo de Paul Lafargue, Tivadar Gorilovics. 1979

14. Literaturno-kriticheskie stat´i. Red., vstup. stat´ia i primechaniia V. Goffenshefera. 1936

15. Propriété, origine et évolution; thése communiste, par Paul Lafargue. Réfutation par Yves Guyot. 1895

16. Religyon fun kapital. 1906

17. Right to be lazy, and other studies, by Paul Lafargue; tr. by Charles H. Kerr. 1907

18. Sale of an appetite, by Paul Lafargue; tr. by Charles H. Kerr, illustrated by Dorothy D. Deene. 1904

19. Social and philosophical studies, by Paul Lafargue; tr. by Charles H. Kerr. 1906

20. Socialism and the intellectuals. 1967

21. Textes choisis. Introd. et notes par Jacques Girault. 1970

22. Trusts américains; leur action--économique--sociale--politique; par Paul Lafargue ... 1903

23. Vom Ursprung der Ideen. Eine Auswahl seiner Schriften von 1886 bis 1900. (Hrsg. von Katharina Scheinfuss, mit einem Nachwort von Dieter Kaiser)

24. Wirthschaftliche materialismus nach den anschauungen von Karl Marx. Von Paul Lafargue. 1886

25. Zaisan no shinka / P¯oru Rafarugu cho; Takahata Motoyuki yakujutsu. 1925

26. Recht auf Faulheit & Persönliche Erinnerungen an Karl Marx.