Paul Lafargue 1899
Source: Le Socialiste, April 23 and 30, 1899;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor.
Socialism is the science that brings a solution to the situation created by capitalist centralization.
Socialism proclaims that no change beneficial to the workers of the shop floor, the fields or the offices can be carried out as long as the political and administrative leadership of the country are monopolized by the capitalist class, and as long as the producers, organized in a class party, have not taken control of public powers, the first and most powerful instrument of social reforms.
Socialism maintains and proves that there is only one solution to the social question as it presents itself in capitalist civilization: it’s that all the centralized labor instruments, such as the railroads, factories, textile works, mines, large farming properties, banks, etc, become national property and be given over to the associated workers, who will operate them with a contract laying out conditions, not for the profit of a few capitalists, do-nothings and thieves, but for the profit of the entire nation.
The international socialist party, which organizes and fights in all the civilized countries, has only undertaken the conquest of public powers in order to fulfill this goal, which is not a utopia, but to the contrary is the inevitable outcome of the movement of capitalist production. One need only look around to see that the state — which is nothing but the thing of the capitalists — has already taken from private industry the railroads, metal works, telegraphs, post offices, tobacco, the manufacturing of money, etc, and that inevitably other private industries will also fall under its control in a more or less near future.
If the industries already taken over by the state — which instead of representing the interests of all the classes of the nation function for the profit of the capitalist class alone — don’t fulfill the socialist ideal, it’s because they aren’t run by the associated workers in the interests of the nation, but by functionaries in a budgetary interest. But this monopolization, which takes place against the private interests of categories of capitalists, indicates the march that industrial and commercial evolution necessarily follows in our era.
Expropriate the capitalist class for the profit of the nation; put the major instruments of labor at the disposition of workers organized in production societies, taking in all the intellectual and manual capacities indispensable for their sound operation; this is the goal of the Worker’s Party.
This transformation of capitalist property into national property will create social well-being.
The anarchic production of capitalist civilization , which only knows how to engender the poverty of the producers with its overabundances of merchandise and its periods of overwork and of unemployment, will be replaced by nationally and internationally regulated production, calculated according to the needs that are to be satisfied. Industrial inventions and improvements , no longer serving to enrich a few individuals, will increase the means of leisure and enjoyment of all members of society.
Capitalism has only known how to cause humanity unhappiness; socialism will establish peace and happiness among men.