Paul Lafargue

Not to be confused with Paul LaFarge.

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Paul Lafargue

Paul Lafargue (French: [lafaʁg]; 15 January 1842 – 25 November 1911) was a French revolutionary Marxist socialist journalist, literary critic, political writer and activist; he was Karl Marx’s son-in-law having married his second daughter, Laura. His best known work is The Right To Be Lazy. Born in Cuba to French and Creole parents, Lafargue spent most of his life in France, with periods in England and Spain. At the age of 69, he and 66-year-old Laura died together by a suicide pact.
Lafargue was the subject of a famous quotation by Karl Marx. Soon before Marx died during 1883, he wrote a letter to Lafargue and the French Workers’ Party organizer Jules Guesde, both of whom already claimed to represent “Marxist” principles. Marx accused them of “revolutionary phrase-mongering” and of denying the value of reformist struggles.[1] This exchange is the source of Marx’s remark, reported by Friedrich Engels: “ce qu’il y a de certain c’est que moi, je ne suis pas Marxiste” (“what is certain to me is that [,if they are Marxists, then] I am not [a] Marxist”).


1 Early life and first French period
2 Spanish period
3 Second French period
4 Last years and suicide
5 Works
6 See also
7 References
8 External links

Early life and first French period[edit]
Lafargue was born in Santiago de Cuba. His father was the owner of coffee plantations in Cuba, and the family’s wealth allowed Lafargue to study in Santiago and then in France. During 1851, the Lafargue family relocated back to its hometown of Bordeaux, where Paul attended secondary school. Later he studied medicine in Paris.
It was there that Lafargue started his intellectual and political career, endorsing Positivist philosophy, and communicating with the Republican groups that opposed Napoleon III. The work of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon seem to have particularly influenced him during this phase. As a Proudhonian anarchist, Lafargue joined the French section of the International Workingmen’s Association (the First International). Nevertheless, he soon began communicating with two of the most prominent revolutionists: Marx and Auguste Blanqui, whose influence largely ended the anarc