The Right to be Lazy by Paul Lafargue. Translated by Charles H Kerr. Charles H Kerr Publishers, 1917.

Paul Lafargue’s classic 1883 text, translated by radical publisher Charles H Kerr along with Lafargue’s prison preface. Online text here.

‘A strange delusion possesses the working classes of the nations where capitalist civilization holds its sway. This delusion drags in its train the individual and social woes which for two centuries have tortured sad humanity. This delusion is the love of work, the furious passion for work, pushed even to the exhaustion of the vital force of the individual and his progeny. Instead of opposing this mental aberration, the priests, the economists and the moralists have cast a sacred halo over work. Blind and finite men, they have wished to be wiser than their God; weak and contemptible men, they have presumed to rehabilitate what their God had cursed. I, who do not profess to be a Christian, an economist or a moralist, I appeal from their judgement to that of their God; from the preachings of their religious, economics or free thought ethics, to the frightful consequences of work in capitalist society.’

The Right to be Lazy by Paul Lafargue. Translated by Charles H Kerr. Charles H Kerr Publishers, 1917.

Contents: Preface by P.L. (1883), The Right to be Lazy) A Disastrous Dogma, Blessings of Work, The Consequence of Over-Production, New Songs to New Music, Appendix. 62 pages.

The Charles H Kerr publishing house was responsible for some of the earliest translations and editions of Marx, Engels, and other leaders of the socialist movement in the United States. Publisher of the Socialist Party aligned International Socialist Review, the Charles H Kerr Co. was an exponent of the Party’s left wing and the most important left publisher of the pre-Communist US workers movement. It remains a left wing publisher today.

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