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Materialism

"A Word on Marxism"

 It is not an exaggeration to state that to-day "Marxism” is becoming almost a household word. Unfortunately this does not mean that over the wide world millions of people have become thoroughly acquainted with the fundamentals of Marxian doctrines. Rather does it signify that the word “Marxist” has become the modern equivalent of “heretic” or “turk.” In other words, when a man is to-day called a “Marxist” people are usually expressing strong disapproval, although they may have little or no idea of the real meaning of the word they are using. As members of the working class concerned with the crying social evils of the modem world we cannot afford such loose thinking. We do not brand or abuse our political opponents; but are concerned rather with a thorough examination of their point of view. We do not reject or accept their statements out of hand.

Editorial: Sickness in Society

Capitalism is a sick society, and within its framework, man suffers. Capitalism is alien to man’s interests. It denies him all that is potentially best in humanity. It is a disease from which there is no recovery short of the reorganisation of society.

Socialists generalise about the way in which society is class divided about private properly. This is not a remote economic abstraction; it is the day to day reality which bestows existence on most people as an ungratifying burden of personal struggle. To the individual worker, life is an endless battle for fragmented survival. There is the electricity bill, the food bill, the clothes bill, the rent or the mortgage, the holiday fund, the minor crisis brought about by some unexpected item of expense. To establish a home, to have children, the worker tightens the knots of a personal economic straight-jacket. He consolidates the conditions of his own exploitation and his dependence on wages or salary.

Materialism Vindicated

Looked at from two points of view—how mankind acquires knowledge and how life has evolved—there is no room for religion or the existence of a supernatural power in the development of mankind. Religion has simply been the expression of man's ignorance of, and his blind defence against, the operation of natural forces which he did not yet understand.

Idealism and Materialism in the Conception of History

By Paul Lafarge (1895)

The following extract is taken from a lecture delivered by Paul Lafargue, under the auspices of the Group of Collectivist Students of Paris, this lecture being a reply to one given by Jean Jaurès on the above-named subject. The terms Idealism and Materialism are used here to designate the “two opposite views regarding the nature of human thought, that it is to say, concerning the ultimate sources of intellectual cognition, concerning the origin of ideas”, the former designating “the doctrine of innate ideas, of ideas a priori”, and the latter “the doctrine of cognition through experience, through the senses, the doctrine of ideas a posteriori” (Heine).

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