Paul Lafargue (1842 - 1911) Icn_world

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Death: Died in Draveil, Ile-de-France, France
Cause of death: suicide
Managed by: Carlos Bunge Molina y Vedia
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About Paul Lafargue

Paul Lafargue (Santiago de Cuba, 15 de enero de 1842 - Draveil, 26 de noviembre de 1911) fue un periodista, médico, teórico político y revolucionario francés. Aunque en un principio su actividad política se orientó a partir de la obra de Proudhon, el contacto con Karl Marx (del que llegó a ser yerno al casarse con su segunda hija, Laura) acabó siendo determinante. Su obra más conocida es El Derecho a la Pereza. Nacido en Santiago de Cuba en una familia franco-caribeña, Lafargue pasó la mayor parte de su vida en Francia, aunque también pasó periodos ocasionales en Inglaterra y España. A la edad de 69 años, Laura y Lafargue se suicidaron juntos, llevando a cabo lo que desde hacía tiempo tenían planeado.

Contenido

   * 1 Juventud y primera etapa en Francia
   * 2 Período Español
   * 3 Segundo Período Francés
   * 4 Obras
   * 5 Enlaces externos

Juventud y primera etapa en Francia

El padre de Lafargue era un acomodado propietario de plantaciones de café en Cuba y, por ello, Paul pudo comenzar sus estudios en Santiago de Cuba y proseguirlos en Francia. En 1851 la familia Lafargue se mudó a Burdeos y Paul estudió en el Liceo de Toulouse. Posteriormente estudió Medicina en París.

Es en París donde Lafargue comenzó su carrera política e intelectual, adhiriéndose a la filosofía positivista y entrando en contacto con los grupos republicanos que se oponían a Napoleón III. Parece que la obra de Proudhon le influyó particularmente en esta fase de su vida y fue como anarquista proudhoniano como Lafargue ingresó en la sección francesa de la "Asociación Internacional de Trabajadores" (la AIT, más conocida como Primera Internacional). Sin embargo, pronto entró en contacto con dos de las personalidades más prominentes del pensamiento revolucionario, Karl Marx y Luis Augusto Blanqui, cuya influencia eclipsó completamente las tendencias anarquistas que hasta entonces había mostrado Lafargue.

Laura, hija de Karl Marx y esposa de Paul Lafargue

En 1865, tras participar en el Congreso Internacional de Estudiantes en Lieja, las universidades francesas prohibieron que Lafargue pudiera tener ninguna relación con las mismas, por lo que tuvo que marcharse a Londres para empezar allí de nuevo su carrera. En Londres se convirtió en un asiduo de la casa de Marx, donde conocería a su hija Laura con la que acabaría contrayendo matrimonio en 1868. Su actividad política tomó un nuevo rumbo en Inglaterra, fue elegido miembro del "Consejo General" de la Primera Internacional, y acabó siendo nombrado secretario corresponsal para todo lo concerniente a España (cargo que desempeñó entre 1866 y 1868). Sin embargo, parece que no consiguió establecer ningún tipo de contacto serio con las organizaciones de trabajadores españolas. Organizaciones españolas sólo entrarían a formar parte de la Internacional a partir de la Revolución de 1868, mientras que la llegada a España del anarquista italiano Giuseppe Fanelli convirtió al país en un bastión del movimiento anarquista (y no de la corriente marxista que representaba Lafargue).

La oposición al anarquismo de Lafargue se volvió notoria cuando, a su regreso de España, escribió una serie de artículos en los que criticaba la influencia de Proudhon en algunas organizaciones obreras francesas. Esta serie de artículos supuso el punto de partida de una larga carrera como articulista político.

Período Español [editar]

Paul Lafargue en 1871

Tras el episodio revolucionario de la Comuna de París de 1871, la represión política obligó a Lafargue a emigrar a España. Allí se estableció en Madrid, donde contactó con algunos miembros locales de la Internacional, sobre los que su influencia acabaría siendo muy importante.

A diferencia de lo que ocurría en otros países europeos, la influencia del anarquismo fue enorme, aun tratándose de un país tan abrumadoramente agrario como era España entonces. La mayoría de los revolucionarios españoles formaban parte de la facción anarquista de la Internacional (y su peso seguiría siendo enorme en España hasta la Guerra Civil). Lafargue se dedicó a intentar redirigir esta tendencia hacia el marxismo, tarea en la que estuvo cercanamente asesorado por Friedrich Engels. Esta labor tenía también importantes implicaciones a nivel internacional, ya que la federación española de la Internacional era uno de los pilares principales de la facción anarquista.

La tarea encomendada a Lafargue consistía principalmente en reunir en Madrid un grupo marxista que fuese capaz de liderar la actividad revolucionaria. Al mismo tiempo que llevaba esto a cabo, Lafargue comenzó a escribir una serie de artículos anónimos para el periódico La Emancipación en los que defendía la necesidad de crear un partido político de la clase obrera (uno de los principales puntos de desacuerdo con los anarquistas). En algunos de estos artículos Lafargue expresaba sus propias ideas acerca de la necesidad de reducir la jornada laboral (una concepción que no era ajena al pensamiento del propio Marx).

En 1872, tras un ataque de La Emancipación contra el nuevo y anarquista Consejo Federal, la Federación de Madrid expulsó a los que habían firmado ese artículo. Al poco estos crearon la Nueva Federación de Madrid, un grupo que nunca llegó a tener una gran influencia. La última actividad de Lafargue como activista político en España consistió en representar a la minoritaria sección marxista en el Congreso de La Haya de 1872, congreso que significó el final de la Primera Internacional como asociación unitaria de todos los socialistas.

Segundo Período Francés [editar]

En 1873 Lafargue se trasladó a Londres. Para entonces ya había dejado de ejercer la Medicina, pues ya no tenía fe en ella. Abrió un taller de litografía pero la escasez de los ingresos que consiguió con él le obligó en varias ocasiones a pedir dinero a Engels (que era propietario de industrias). Gracias a la ayuda de Engels consiguió entrar nuevamente en contacto desde Londres con el movimiento obrero francés (el cual estaba empezando a ganar de nuevo base social, después de la tremenda represión reaccionaria que había llevado a cabo Adolphe Thiers durante los primeros años de la III República francesa).

A partir de 1880 trabajó de nuevo como editor del diario LEgalité. En ese mismo año y en las páginas de ese diario, Lafargue comenzó a publicar los primeros borradores de El Derecho a la Pereza

Fue un activo militante en la Comuna de París, y fue miembro-fundador de sus secciones francesas, españolas y portuguesas. Lafargue fue también dirigente de la II Internacional. Fue uno de los fundadores del Partido Obrero francés en 1879. Uno de sus libros más célebres es "El derecho a la pereza", escrito hacia 1880. Fue uno de los textos más difundidos de la literatura socialista mundial, probablemente sólo superado por el "Manifiesto del Partido Comunista" de Karl Marx y Friedrich Engels.

Obras

   * El método histórico
   * El Derecho a la Pereza
   * El Origen de las Ideas Abstractas
  • **************************************************************

Paul Lafargue (June 16, 1842 – November 26, 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 Laura died together in a suicide pact.

Lafargue was the subject of a famous quotation by Karl Marx. Shortly before Marx died in 1883, he wrote a letter to Lafargue and the French Workers' Party leader 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 is that [if they are Marxists, then] I myself am not a Marxist").

Contents

   * 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

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. In 1851, the Lafargue family moved to Bordeaux — Lafargue finished lycée in Toulouse, and studied medicine in Paris.

It was there that Lafargue started his intellectual and political career, adhering to the Positivist philosophy, and contacting the Republican groups that opposed Napoleon III. The work of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon seem to have particularly influenced him in this phase. As a Proudhonian anarchist, Lafargue joined the French section of the International Workingmen's Association (the First International). Nevertheless, he soon contacted two of the most prominent figures of revolutionary thought and action: Marx and Auguste Blanqui, whose influence largely eclipsed the first anarchist tendencies of the young Lafargue.

In 1865, after participating in the International Students' Congress in Liege, Lafargue was banned from all French universities, and had to leave for London in order to start a career. It was there that he became a frequent visitor to Marx's house, meeting his second daughter Laura, whom he married in 1868. His political activity took a new course, and he was chosen as a member of the General Council of the First International, then appointed corresponding secretary for Spain. However, he does not seem to have succeeded in establishing any serious contact with workers' groups in that country - Spain joined the international movement only after the Cantonalist Revolution of 1868, while events such as the arrival of the Italian anarchist Giuseppe Fanelli made it a strong bastion of Anarchism (and not of the Marxist current that Lafargue chose to represent).

Lafargue's opposition to Anarchism became notorious when, after his return to France, he wrote several articles attacking the Bakuninist tendencies that were very influential in some French workers' groups; this series of articles marked the start of a long career as a political journalist.

Spanish period

After the revolutionary episode of the Paris Commune in 1871, political repression forced him to flee to Spain. He finally settled in Madrid, where he contacted those local members of the International over whom his influence was going to be very important.

Unlike in other parts of Europe where Marxism came to play a dominant part, Spain's revolutionaries were mostly followers of the International's anarchist faction (they were to remain very strong up until the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, and the subsequent dictatorship). Lafargue became involved in redirecting the trend toward Marxism, an activity that was largely developed under directions from Friedrich Engels, and one that became intertwined with the struggles that both tendencies had at the international level - as the Spanish federation of the International was one of the main pillars of the Anarchist group.

The task given to Lafargue consisted mainly of gathering a Marxist leadership in Madrid, while exercising an ideological influence through unsigned articles in the newspaper La Emancipación (where he defended the need to create a political party of the working class, one of the main topics opposed by the anarchists). At the same time, Lafargue took initiative through some of his articles, expressing his own ideas about a radical reduction of the working day (a concept which was not entirely alien to the original thought of Marx).

In 1872, after a public attack of La Emancipación against the new, anarchist, Federal Council, the Federation of Madrid expelled the signatories of that article, who soon went on to found the New Federation of Madrid, a group of limited influence. The last activity of Lafargue as a Spanish activist was to represent this Marxist minority group in the 1872 Hague Congress which marked the end of First International as a united group of all communists.

Second French period

Between 1873 and 1882, Paul Lafargue lived in London, and avoided practising medicine as he had come to lose faith in it. He opened a photolithography workshop, but its limited income forced him to request money from Engels (who was an owner of industries) on several occasions. Thanks to Engels' assistance, he again contacted the French workers' movement from London, after it had started to regain ground lost with the reactionary repression under Adolphe Thiers during the first years of the Third Republic.

From 1880, he again worked as editor of the newspaper L'Egalité. In that same year, and in the pages of that publication, Lafargue began publishing the first draft of The Right to Be Lazy. In 1882, he started working in an insurance company, which allowed him to move back to Paris and re-enter the core of French socialist politics. Together with Jules Guesde and Gabriel Deville, he began directing the activities of the newly-founded French Workers' Party (Parti Ouvrier Français; POF), which he led into conflict with the other major left-wing options: Anarchism, as well as the "Jacobin" Radicals and Blanquists.

From then until his death, Lafargue remained the most respected theorist of the POF, not just extending the original Marxist doctrines, but also adding original ideas of his own. He also took active part in public activities such as strikes and elections, and was imprisoned several times.

In 1891, despite being in police custody, he was elected to the French Parliament for Lille, being the first ever French Socialist to occupy such an office. His success would encourage the POF to remain engaged in electoral activities, and largely abandon the insurrectional policies of its previous period.

Nevertheless, Lafargue continued his defense of Marxist orthodoxy against any reformist tendency, as shown by his conflict with Jean Jaurès, as well as his refusal to take part in any "bourgeois" government.

[edit] Last years and suicide

In 1908, the different socialist tendencies were unified in the form of a single party after a Congress in Toulouse. Lafargue made his last stand in the gathering, fighting fiercely against the social democrat reformism defended by Jaurès.

In these late years, Lafargue had already distanced himself from any form of political activity, living on the outskirts of Paris in the village of Draveil, limiting his contributions to a number of articles and essays, as well as occasional contacts with some of the most outstanding socialist activists of the time, such as Karl Kautsky and Hjalmar Branting of the older generation, and Karl Liebknecht or Vladimir Lenin of the younger generation. It was in Draveil that Paul and Laura Lafargue put an end to their lives,[2] to the surprise and even outrage of French and European socialists.

He wrote for that occasion:

   "Healthy in body and spirit, I am killing myself before implacable old age (which one by one takes from me all the pleasures and joys of existence, and which deprives me of my physical and intellectual strength) paralyzes my energy, breaks my will, and makes me a burden to myself and others.
   For many years I have promised myself not to surpass the age of seventy; I have fixed the season for my departure from this life and have prepared the manner of executing my decision: a hypodermic injection of hydrocyanic acid.
   I die with the supreme joy of having the certainty that in a near future the cause to which I have devoted myself for 45 years ago will triumph.
   Long live Communism! Long live the International !"

Most socialist leaders publicly or privately deplored his decision; a few, notably the Spanish Anarchist leader Anselmo Lorenzo, who had been a major political rival of Lafargue in his Spanish period, accepted his decision with understanding. Lorenzo wrote after Lafargue's death:

   "The double, original and, whatever the rutinarians say, even sympathetic suicide of Paul Lafargue and Laura Marx [in Spain, women keep their maiden surname after marriage], who knew and could live united and lovers until death, has awakened my memories (...)
   Lafargue was my teacher: his memory is for me almost as important as that of Fanelli.
   (...) in Lafargue were two different aspects that made him appear in constant contradiction: affiliated to socialism, he was anarchist communist by intimate conviction; but enemy of Bakunin, by suggestion of Marx, he tried to damage Anarchism. Due to that double way of being, he caused different effect in those that had relations with him: the simple ones were comforted by his optimisms, but those touched by depressing passions changed friendship into hate and produced personal issues, divisions and created organizations that, because of original vice, will always give bitter fruit. (...)"
Works
   * Le matérialisme économique de Karl Marx, (1884)
   * Cours d'économie sociale, (1884)
   * Le droit à la paresse, (1887)
   * The Evolution of Property from Savagery to Civilization, (1891), (new edition, 1905)
   * Le socialisme utopique, (1892)
   * Le communisme et l'évolution économique, (1892)
   * Le socialisme et la conquête des pouvoirs publics, (1899)
   * La question de la femme Paris, 1904
   * Le déterminisme économique de Karl Marx, (1909)
   * The Right to Be Lazy, (1883) (online)

1913--1996- The Eger Family Association- pg.39

1913--1990- The Eger Family Association-אילן יח-

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Paul Lafargue's Timeline

1842
January 15, 1842
Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
1868
April 2, 1868
Age 26
City of London, Greater London, UK
1911
November 26, 1911
Age 69
Draveil, Ile-de-France, France
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Pariser Friedhof Père Lachaise