Paul Lafargue (1841-1911)


Paul Lafargue - Wikipedia

Paul Lafargue was born in 1842 in Santiago, Cuba of mixed heritage. He moved with his family to France as a young boy where he studied medicine and first became involved in politics as a follower of Proudhon. It was while a representative of the French working-class movement to the First International he became friendly with Marx and Engels and changed his views to those of Marx. Married in 1868 to Laura Marx, Marx’s second daughter, the Lafargue’s began several decades of political work together, financially supported by Engels.

Paul was one of the founders of the Marxist wing of the French Workers Party. From 1861 took part in the republican movement. In 1870-71 he carried on organizational and agitational work in Paris and Bordeaux; after the fall of the Commune he fled to Spain where he fought for the line of the General Council; they then settled in London. After the bloody May Day in Fourmis (1891) he was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment. Lafargue fought against reformism and Millerandism and was an advocate of women’s rights.

Lafargue was an influential speaker and wrote numerous works on revolutionary Marxism, including the humorous and well-known, “The Right to Be Lazy” and “Evolution and Property”. By age 70, in 1911, the elderly couple commits suicide together, having decided they had nothing left to give to the movement to which they devoted their lives.


Survey of the Progress of The International Working Men’s Association, 1866
Bourgeois Sentimentalism, 1881
Socialism and Nationalisation, 1882
The Right To Be Lazy, 1883
Peasant Proprietary in France, 1884
A Visit to Louise Michel, 1885
The Decazeville Strike, 1886
The Boulanger Question, 1887
The Morrow of the Revolution, 1887
The Evolution of Property from Savagery to Civilization, 1890
Reminiscences of Marx, 1890
Darwinism on the French Stage, 1890
The Myth of Athena, 1890
The Chino-Japanese War, 1895
Idealism and materialism in the conception of history, 1895
Socialism in France 1874-1896, 1897
The Origin of Abstract Ideas, 1898
Our Goal, 1899
The Bankruptcy of Capitalism, 1900
The Rights of the Horse and the Rights of Man, 1900
The Socialist Ideal, 1900
Socialism and the Intellectuals, 1900
The Boycott, 1901
Clericalism and Socialism, 1902
Capitalist Property, 1903
The Historical Method of Karl Marx, 1903
Simple Socialist Truths, 1903
A forecast of the coming revolution, 1904
The Woman Question, 1904
Personal Recollections of Engels, 1905
Socialism and Internationalism, 1905
Social and Philosophical Studies, 1906
Economic Determinism and the Natural and Mathematical Sciences, 1906
Britain coming into line – letter to Quelch, 1906
The law of value and the dearness of commodities, 1908

Paul Lafargue (1841-1911)