50 Years Ago: Justice and Social Revolution
The philosophic historians attribute this evolution to the ceaseless action of the Spiritual Forces, particularly Justice, the strongest of all, which according to an idealistic and academic philosopher is always present even though it arrives only by degrees into human thought and into social facts. Bourgeois society and its way of thinking are thus the last and highest manifestations of this immanent Justice, and it is to obtain these fine results that this lady has toiled in the mine of history.
A ruling class always considers that what serves its economic and political interests is just and that which disserves them is unjust. The Justice which it conceives is realised when its class interests are satisfied.
The feudal and guild organisations injuring the bourgeoisie was in its eyes so unjust that its immanent Justice resolved to destroy it. The bourgeois historians relate that it could not tolerate the forcible robberies of the feudal barons, who knew no other methods of rounding out their fields and filling their purses all of which does not prevent their honest immanent Justice from encouraging the forcible robberies which, without risking their skins, the pacific capitalists have committed by proletarians disguised as soldiers in the barbarous countries of the old and the new world.
It is Justice who gives the slaveholder the right to possess men like a chattel; it is she again who gives the capitalists the right to exploit the children, women and men of the proletariat worse than beasts of burden.
(Extract from The Historical Method of Marx by Paul Lafargue. Socialist Standard, June 1920).