Paul Lafargue, Cuban husband of Karl Marx's daughter
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
June 1, 2010, 1:05
By Yudith Diaz (Prensa Latina *)
Google translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
HAVANA (PL) Fate plays with chance and in one of his whims wanted the Cuban Paul Lafargue to know Karl Marx, founder of socialist doctrine, and also to marry his daughter Laura.
The story goes that Lafargue, only son of a French Jewish settler, was born in Santiago de Cuba, and by adolescence he moved with his family to France.
At the University of Paris he began studies in medicine and outlined his political education.
He met the positivism of Auguste Comte, the philosophical texts of Immanuel Kant, Ludwig Feuerbach and Charles Darwin, and socialist thinkers Charles Fourier and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
Attending a student congress in Belgium made the French universities prohibit his return to their classrooms.
Lafargue had to go to London to resume university studies and in 1865 participated in the founding of the First International.
He met Karl Marx at the meeting of Saint-Martins Hall and began to frequent his house in London, where he saw Laura, second daughter of the German, and fell in love which was reciprocated. The couple married on April 2, 1868, when Lafargue completed his medical career, and since then, Marx's son also was faithful assistant and interpreter of his revolutionary work.
In 1867, Marx introduced him to Frederick Engels, with whom the Cuban would build a strong friendship.
After the death of his father in 1883, Lafargue continued his responsibilities as an organizer, propagandist and theorist of socialism.
During the Congress of the Socialist International in 1889 he influenced the initiative to adopt the first of May as a day of vindication working worldwide.
He attended numerous conferences, founded newspapers and participated in the creation of the French Workers' Party.
He suffered persecution, exile and arrest, particularly after the massacre of the Communards in Paris (1871).
Biographical information Lafargue stresses that was identified both with them who had fled to Spain after his defeat and played an important role in the introduction of Marxist ideas in the Iberian nation.
But his life ended dramatically on the night of November 26, 1911, when Paul and his wife Laura committed suicide in his cottage in Draveil after their hypodermic injection of hydrocyanic acid.
A note to his nephew Edgar Longuet accompanied the corpse, "I die in the supreme joy of having the certainty that in the near future, because they devoted my life for 55 years to its triumph, Viva Communism! Viva International Socialism!
Personalities as relevant as Jean Juarez, the greatest figure of French socialism, and an exiled Russian revolutionary who went by the name of Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, better known by the pseudonym of Lenin, spoke before their graves.
In his will, made public after the event, Paul Lafargue explained the reasons for his surprising and unexpected decision:
"Healthy in body and mind, give me death before the implacable old, who has taken away one after another the joys and pleasures of life, and has robbed me of my physical and intellectual forces, paralyzed my energy and finish with my will, becoming a burden to myself and to others.
"For years I have promised not to exceed seventy years and have set the time of year for my departure from this life and paved the way to carry out my decision: hypodermic injection of hydrocyanic acid.
(*) The author is a journalist with the Prensa Latina national editorial staff.
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