Karl Marx

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Correlatively with this development, whereas the proletarians of other days were content to sulk in their hovels as they contemplated the brilliant gyrations of the capitalist constellation, merely cursing in secret the sorrows of their lot, to-day the workers of the two worlds are advancing in serried ranks to the conquest of a new humanity and a new life. Thus the[Pg 161] immobility of our fathers has given place to rapid movement; their discouragement and resignation, to rebellious demands; and whereas of old a chasm yawned between the scattered visionaries who entertained dreams of social rebirth and the inert mass of the poverty-stricken, we find to-day that the impoverished are themselves becoming the artificers, the heralds, the pioneers, of the irresistible ascent of humanity towards a juster and better social order. Now all this new moral and social world, unknown to our grandparents, the glory and the plague of science, of society, of contemporary life; all this gigantic tumult of ideas, facts, claims, of assaults, wounds, innovating reconstructions; all this marvellous necromancy is the work of one man, a sage and a martyr. All this we owe to Karl Marx. It measures, concretes, and materialises for us his colossal worth and the omnipotent vastness of his achievement. Though science may well and with full right[Pg 162] complain of the gaps in his doctrinal system, though life may furnish the most definite refutations of his theoretical visions, and though future history may display forms of which he never dreamed, nevertheless, no one will ever be able to unseat him from his throne, or to dispute the sovereignty which accrues to him on account of his splendid contributions to civil progress. Whether praised and accepted, or despised and rejected, by practice or by theory, by history or by reason, he will always remain the emperor in the realm of mind, the Prometheus foredestined to lead the human race towards the brilliant goal which awaits it in a future not perhaps immeasurably remote.

For the day is coming. And in that day, when remorseless time shall have destroyed the statues of the saints and of the warriors, renascent humanity will raise in honour of the author of this work of destruction, upon the shores of his native stream, a huge mausoleum[Pg 163] representing the proletarian breaking his chains and entering upon an era of conscious and glorious freedom. Thither will come the regenerated peoples bearing garlands of remembrance and of gratitude to lay upon the shrine of the great thinker, who, amid sufferings, humiliations, and numberless privations, fought unceasingly for the ransom of mankind. And the mothers, as they show to their children the suffering and suggestive figure, will say, their voices trembling with emotion and joy: See from what darkness our light has come forth; see how many tears have watered the seeds of our joy; look, and pay reverence to him who struggled, who suffered, who died for the Supreme Redemption.

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