Paul Lafargue, Early French Marxism and the Right to Laziness
This chapter delves into The Right to Laziness by, Marx’s son-in-law, Paul Lafargue. It situates the publication of the work in the context of contemporary debates among socialists about the significance of the Paris Commune of 1871 and its meaning for the future direction of the workers’ movement in France. The chapter goes on to explore the critique of work put forward by Lafargue. It focuses especially on the way in which Lafargue criticises the negative portrayals of life in the pre-modern, pre-capitalist, world and how he insists upon the historical specificity of the cultural valorisation of labour. It concludes by examining his conception of economic crisis as the result of overproduction and his proposals for how to solve it.