The central and fundamental proposition of socialism is not any scheme for reconstructing society, on a cut-and-dried programme, nor again is it any particular mathematical formula showing to what extent the laborer is robbed by the present system of the fruits of his labor; it is precisely this Historical Materialism, which Labriola has so admirably explained in the present work.Some idea of the place accorded to this book by European socialists may be gathered from the preface to the French edition by G. Sorel, one of the most prominent socialists of France.
drawn from the reasoning of reason, but because they are derived from the objective study of things, that is to say, from the explanation of their process, which is not, and which cannot be, a result of our will but which on the contrary triumphs over our will and subdues it.
Not one of the previous or subsequent works of the authors of the Manifesto themselves, although they have a much more considerable scientific leaning, can replace the Manifesto or have the same specific efficacy. It gives us in its classic simplicity the true expression of this situation; the modern proletariat exists, takes its stand, grows and develops in contemporary history as the concrete subject, the positive force whose necessarily revolutionary action must find in communism its necessary outcome. And that is why this work while giving a theoretical base to its prediction and expressing it in brief, rapid and concise formulae, forms a storehouse, or rather an inexhaustible mine of embryonic thoughts which the reader may f
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