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Paul Lafargue

Socialism and Nationalisation by Paul Lafargue

      This article written by Paul Lafargue in 1882, was translated and published in the Socialist Standard in February and March, 1912.

Human Nature?

 The critics of the Socialist case are legion, but the diversity of their arguments is very limited. At street corner or in public hall, from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, in Great Britain and abroad, one hears the same arguments, couched in similar words, from those who would refute the case for Socialism. It would almost appear as if they vied with one another in their efforts to be unoriginal.

 One of these stock arguments is the one which the Socialist designates as "The Human Nature argument.” It is frequently the first question which rises to the lips of the but recently interested worker, and it is often the last line of defence of the opponent who has been driven from every other point of vantage by the logic of the Socialist case.

Book Review: 'An Exposure of Socialism'

Socialism 'Exposed'

'An Exposure of Socialism', by Max Hirsch. 48 pp., 2d.

In contrast with most so-called exposures of Socialism this one is readable and even interesting. It consists, nevertheless, for the most part of rhetorical pyrotechnics and of perfervid appeals in the sacred names of Liberty, Purity, Justice and the like, illustrating both the astuteness of Max Hirsch and the power that such ambiguous abstractions still wield over the sheep-like multitude.

The pamphlet (which has not been sent to us for review) consists of three addresses originally delivered by Max Hirsch in Australia. The “exposure,” indeed, amounts principally to assertions by Hirsch that the ultimate outcome of Socialism:

Socialism and Work

When Paul Lafargue wrote his well-known pamphlet The Right to be Lazy he chose this title to parody the demand, still current today, for "the right to work", In one sense he was right. The "right" to be employed by a capitalist is not something worth fighting for (quite apart from being unachievable). Given the demeaning and exploitative nature of employment it would indeed be better to demand the right not to work, the right to be lazy. In another sense, however, this title is misleading in that it suggests social life could continue without work, not in the sense of employment but in the sense of productive activity.

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