“Right to be Lazy”

March 2023 Forums General discussion “Right to be Lazy”

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    Some are slowly catching up with our vision.


    “Lafargue’s essay remains an exciting read because it still feels so visceral. You may be able to pick holes in its theory or be put off by some of the generalisations, but it has an immediacy and an energy that is captivating.”


    I have always thought that the best thing about this pamphlet was its English title. It was meant as a criticism of the “Right to Work” (The Right to be Exploited) rather than, as the article suggests, part of the campaign for an 8-hour day, which still wouldn’t leave much time to be lazy. Eight hours for the usual six-and-a-half days at the time = a 52-hour week.

    We must get a copy of the new translation to see if reads better than the pre-WW1 one. Ordering it now.


    I wonder what Karl Marx said about his daughter marrying to a Cuban Mulato and the son of a coffee plantation owner. Marx wrote a book about suicide but it was not influenced by the suicide committed by his daughter and Paul Lafargue The Spanish translation of the Paul Lafargue book is superb. Spain, Argentina and Mexico book publishers they had always made good translations including Marx Capital. The book does not have any relationship with the 8 or 6 hours to work, it is misleading, Some right wingers groups have said that communists do not want to work that they want to be lazy, but it is not main idea of the book



    Yes, sad that 2 of Marx’s 3 daughters who survived into adulthood should have committed suicide.


    I have now got and read the new translation. It’s only a pamphlet of less than 40 pages. It has led me to revise my opinion of its content. It’s a brilliant satire, on a par with Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and Samuel Butler’s Erewhon , of the obsession with work to keep the capitalist economy going and of the workers’ demand to be given work by capitalists as a “right”.

    There are some mistakes in the translation, the worst of which is translating “femmes galloises” as “Welsh women” rather than “Gallic women”. Not sure if it is a complement or an insult to Welsh women to say that they are as fierce as Asterix’s female Gauls.

    Also, the introduction takes too literally Lafargue’s description of what an “idleness regime” would look like, as if that was what he was advocating.

    But anyway hopefully this will introduce more people to socialist/communist ideas (Lafargue uses the word “communist”).

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